Monday, April 30, 2012

Word Clouds

Today is the final day of HAWMC. For today’s post we’re putting your words into an image, a word cloud or tree representing YOUR health focus, interest, or passions. Write down some of your favorite topics off the top of your head or review the tags in your blog post for some surprises. For some examples on layout check out

I love this prompt. It's a great way to start to reflect about the last month of constant blogging. And I made two word clouds over at Wordle. And then spent about 45 minutes (that I don't have today) trying to figure out how to save the stupid things and post them here. And now I've given up and am just telling you about them. They were cool. And if someone wants to give me quick, easy directions on how to post them, I will. Otherwise, you'll just have to take my word, friends.

Today's lesson: A 3 day weekend should be more than enough time to hike, do laundry, put said laundry away, make dinner for a friend, deliver said dinner, make two (TWO!!!) milk pickups for baby E, do all the dishes, clean up the kitchen, makes up the beds, go to church, relax, sleep at least 7hrs/night, read a few chapters in the 4th Ha.rry Pot.ter book, AND make and download a word cloud. Apparently not so much.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Microblogging a Hike

Today's HAWMC prompt is to microblog - write a post that's 6 sentences or less. So here goes. And, for the record, this part doesn't count. That's my rule, not theirs.

Yesterday we went for our first hike of the season. The weather was beautiful - sunny, low 70's, slight breeze. I figured, since I haven't put any pics of here in months (computer issues), I owe you some.

Me, hubby, the kid, and a just barely waking up baby E stopping for a brief family pic.

The kid and two of his friends, having a sitdown to solve the world's problems - or just taking a break from their constant running hither and yon.

Today's lesson: Microblogging takes way less time than regular blogging.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The First Time...

Today's HAWMC prompt is to write about the first time you ever did something.

We arrived at the hospital the morning after the kid was born. It took a while to find someone who seemed to understand why we needed to get back to the nursery to our baby. Apparently, at that particular hospital, adoptions are nowhere nearing commonplace.

We hadn't discussed nursing with L and D prior to the kid being born (we'd only met them once, and that didn't really seem like the time to broach the subject). Our social worker - who was aware of our desire for me to nurse him - discussed it with L that morning. L was all, "I mean, I don't get why you'd want to do that, but whatever. Go for it".

The nurses, who were all abuzz, ushered hubby and I into the overflow nursery. I settled myself in a rocker. Hubby held the kid while I lifted my shirt and unhooked the nursing bra. I didn't use the SNS, because I wanted to see if he would just latch. And, really, that thing looked more than a little intimidating.

I ended up just taking my shirt off completely. There were several people around. A couple of nurses, a lactation consultant (maybe 2?), hubby. Apparently the kid and I were quite interesting. It was anything but intimate.

There were lots of hands. On him. On my boobs. Fluttering about. Pushing his head into my boob. Pulling my boob this way and that. Dribbling formula on my nipple to try to further interest him.

He latched for only a minute and a few sucks. Tired. Then even less interested when immediate gratification didn't occur (thanks to the bottles he'd been fed the previous 12 hours). He fell asleep.

The first time I breastfed my son, I cried. It was perfect. He was perfect. He was my child. I was finally a momma.

Today's lesson: You'll never guess who is first (that's right., FIRST!) when you search "why I hate social workers". This girl. That's right. I find this impossibly humorous. I mean, really? Irony at it's finest.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Open Adoption Roundtable

This month's Open Adoption Roundtable theme is about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?

In this state, open adoption agreements are not legally binding. To the best of my knowledge, that is the case in most (if not all?) states. Now, also to the best of my knowledge, writing one at all in this state, is also unusual. Though it's certainly possible that may just be the case with our agency.

The subject was never mentioned in any way throughout our training. And, honestly, it's not something I ever thought about in the least. Until, after reading about them somewhere, that is. Then I realized how helpful one would have been when the kid's birth family kind of disappeared the first time.

Now I don't mean this in a "so we can hold them to it" kind of way. But rather so that there would have been a bigger discussion with them either before he was born, or shortly thereafter, that would have, so to say, let us all lay it all out on the table. Given us all a clearer picture of what out individual expectations were about contact and visits. Given us all the opportunity to really explore our expectations of each other, of contact, and of what "open" really means to each of us, and in our relationship.

We didn't do it though, and because of that, I feel like we're all kind of flailing about, not knowing what to expect. And with not a strong enough relationship at this point to feel like we can bring it up. It's so uncomfortable for me (and hubby). I can only imagine how uncomfortable it is for the boys' birthfamilies.

I long for the kind of openness where we get together often and have family meals. Where when we go on vacation to the city where R's family lives and get to meet and visit with them. Where we go to the park and let the kids play. Where I don't feel awkward when someone addresses R as baby E's mother.

But, if I'm being completely honest about it all, the thought of those things actually happening, well, it also terrifies me. Which tells me that I have a lot of work to do on myself. And in our relationships with the boy's birth families. Because if I can't be comfortable with them, 100%, how can I help the boys to know how much I want them to have relationships with these parts of their - our - family. And I know their birthfamilies must feel my discomfort as well, making them even less comfortable.

Today's lesson: So, I know this is one I've used before, but it's still just as true this time as it has been all the other times. And it's one I am frequently reminded of. Here it is. Adoption is ever so complicated.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

International Pay It Forward Day

Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” 

Today you get a bonus post. This is International Pay It Forward Day. Ever heard of it? I hadn't. But once I did, I thought it an absolutely fabulous idea. Service to others is important to me, to both hubby and I. It is the basis of both of our professions.

Kindness and doing things for others is something that we talk a lot about in our family. But, outside of donating toys to other kids or the kid helping my mom do "the bread run" from the local Kro.ger to a homeless shelter, it isn't something we've really put into practice in ways that our boys can really get what we're talking about.

So, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to really start to drive this point home for our boys, especially the kid. He is now old enough to really understand. And, while baby E is too little to get it, it was also important that he be involved, to lay that foundation.

So, what would we do? I was really looking for something that would help the kid be able to concretely see that his actions specifically made a difference, however small, in someone else's life. I thought and thought and came up with a few ideas. But none of them seemed quite right. And then it dawned on me. If my intention is to help the kid understand the importance of doing things for others, why not ask him? Why not have him come up with an idea for what he can do for others? I mean, he is a remarkably empathetic child (if I do say so myself). I suspected he could think of something perfect.

And, you know what's funny, my boy taught me something. The convo this morning went a little something like this:
M: Hey, tell me why it's important for us to do things for other people.
K: Duh, it's the right thing to do.
M: But, why?
K: Duh, because we should take care of other people.
M: And why else?
K: Well, obviously, because God wants us to take care of other people. And we do that, momma, all the time.
M: How do we do that?
K: Well, we took our friends cupcakes when they were sad because the baby in Ms K's belly died and went to heaven. They were sad and we wanted them to know we were thinking about them. And we took Ms JE a card when she had surgery, to make her smile. And you're taking your other friend dinner because she has a new baby at her house. Also we gave our extra bed and dressers to a family who needed them. And we didn't even know those people. We do it lots of ways, momma. But, you know, we can always do it more. Because I like helping people.
M: What other ways would you like to do it, bug?
K: (silence, crickets chirping...)

Conversation to be finished this afternoon, while we're doing something for others (to be revealed later!)

Today's lesson:
"You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it."  ~ Albert Schweitzer

My lesson for the day was this - sometimes, as parents, we do things right. There are many times when I screw up. I mean, many times. But, at least in this one thing, I (and hubby of course) have gotten it right.

It starts with our children. Today, I'm headed out with the kid to do something for others, which I'll clue you in on later (so we don't ruin the surprise). What will you do today, on International Pay It Forward Day, to teach our children the importance of doing something for others?

Blog Tagline

Today's HAWMC prompt is to create a tagline for your blog.

Now, while hubby is quite good at coming up with taglines, me? Not so much. So, what did I do? Well, I relied on helpful old I found a couple of random tagline generators. You enter your word(s) into the box and it comes up with taglines for you. Here are some of the ones I got. Not exactly what I was looking for...
  • Infertility, free for everyone. Hahahaha. I mean, sure anyone can get IF, and it's free to get, but getting rid of it, per say, not so free.
  • is not enough. Uh, actually, I'd say probably one is more than enough. Thanks.
  • Infertility, couldn't ask for more! Um, actually, I'm pretty sure I could...
  • I see infertility in your future. Well, now, that one just would have been helpful about, oh 10 years ago.
  • Problem? The solution: Infertility No, no. It's the other way around. IF is the problem. But, wait, what's the solution??
  • Infertility takes it to the next level. The next level of crazy... Why yes, yes it does.
  • Infertility: It's guaranteed. Guaranteed to make you feel crazy and vulnerable and want to poke other people's eyes out sometimes. Oh wait. Maybe that was just me?
  • Infertility is crazy good. No, just crazy. And not good crazy.
  • Infertility. When it has to get done. Um, that's kind of what sex was like sometimes. You know, just something that has to get done. Good times, good times, y'all.
  • Infertility? The high life. Being high might have made it more tolerable...
  • Infertility, can't be beat. That sure is how it feels some days.
  • Infertility opens the flood gates. Oh hell yes it does. The crazy tear flood gates. Geesh...
  • People like infertility. Um, actually, I'm pretty darn sure they don't. Like, at all.
  • The science of infertility. Now that would be helpful to know, wouldn't it?!
  • Get infertility before your friend does. Oh, I sure did. How lucky for me!
  • Award winning infertility. And what award would that be? The least functioning girly parts? How awesome.
  • Infertility, fun for the whole family. Oh, but wait. See the problem with IF is that it makes that whole "family" part pretty difficult to achieve. And it's not really fun, at all.
  • Infertility will get you more girls. But it won't get you more boys either. That's kind of the problem...
  • My infertility. Yup it is. Do you want it? 'Cause lord knows I don't.
And, my absolute favorite/the winner:
  • Infertility is all jacked up. Why yes, yes it is. Thank you for noticing.

Today's lesson: My 6yo is "sprouting hair all over my body. And when I lick it, it stands up. I mean the hair on my arms. That's the only place I can lick, of course". Of course it is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Mothers

Today's HAWMC prompt is to write about a memory you have, in third person.

The woman is sitting in the hospital room, holding her baby. Her husband is at her side. She's just finished nursing him. He's so tiny, so sweet. She doesn't know what she's done to deserve this beautiful baby. She waited so long.

She's been in the room all day, tending to their son. Taking in his new baby smell. Twirling his soft, fluffy curls around her fingers. Rubbing her fingers and own cheeks against his, so velvety smooth and soft. Feeling the slight weight of him in her arms, on her chest. Feeling the heavy weight of responsibility for him settle in her happy heart. Listening to his funny little cries, that sound more like a kitten than a baby. Listening to his soft breaths while his head lays on her shoulder, peacefully sleeping.

She hasn't hardly put him down all day. Not even to let her husband hold him. After all this time of waiting for him, she can't imagine letting him go. She feels perfectly content and calm. This is who she is meant to be.

And then his mother walks in the room. Quietly. With both resolve and pain in her eyes. She is being discharged home to her partner and 2 other children. She hasn't seen her son since after she gave birth to him almost 36 hours before. The woman and her husband have kept her updated on him, but it's not the same. And now she is to say goodbye to him.

The woman hands the baby to her. Trying to hold back her own tears. It is hard to know what to say or do. She wants to ease his mother's pain. Wants her to know that she already loves this baby and will be the best mother she knows how to be for him. She wants her to know that she knows his mother loves him, too. That she will make sure he also knows this.

She stays quiet and watches mother and infant watching each other. There seems to be an understanding between the two. The woman doesn't know what they say to each other with their eyes, but it is something. Something that the mother and the baby both seem to understand. A calmness settles over the room.

The mother hands her son to the woman, who is now also this child's mother. At least that seems to be what she is trying to tell the woman without saying a word. The two mothers share a long embrace. They each love this baby. Neither seems to have the words to tell the other what she wants her to know. The joy of one mother, and the pain of both mothers, they are all mixed up in the small room. It is palpable.

The baby starts to root, hungry again.

The mother takes one more look at her baby. Nods her heads towards the husband. Pats the woman on her arm. The woman kisses her son's other mother on the cheek. There are no more words to be said.

The mother leaves the room.

The woman cries as she feeds their baby. She is finally a mother. But at what cost to this other woman, her son's other mother? She is fairly certain she will ever know.

Today's lesson: Adoption is ever so complicated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

So, for some reason, April is a month with lots of themes, and apparently lots of those themes are oness that are important to me in particular. You know, Earth Day, Nat'l Infertility Awareness Week. You'll also be seeing National Pay It Forward Day coming through here later this week. Well, April is also National Child Abuse Prevention Month. And, you know, since I'm a social worker and all, there was no way I could let that one get by without at least making a mention.

I could give you all the statistics about child abuse. Tell you how many children are victims (both survivors, and those who don't make it to their next birthdays) every year, every day, every minute. I could show you pictures of kids who have been burned. Or neglected. Or raped. Or simply had the shit beat out of them. I could talk about risk factors for abuse. Or red flags (behavioral, physical). Or give you a list of typical perpetrator characteristics. I could tell you how children are affected short-term, long-term by their abuse. I could give you information about how - as a society - we are all affected by the children who are abused and their perpetrators.

I could do all of these things. Many I could easily spout off a running list for you off the top of my head, without even having to look up the research.

But I won't. Not today at least.

Today I am going to tell you a story about a little boy. I'll call him Nick. Nick was less than 6 months old when I met him. His parents were not married, but were upper middle class, both working outside of the home. They generally had someone in one of their families care for him when they were at work or otherwise unavailable. He lived mostly with mom, but dad saw him regularly throughout the week, overnight a couple times a week.

One morning mom picked him up from an overnight with dad. She took him over to her boyfriend's house, because neither of the grandmas were available that day. He stayed with her boyfriend until she got off of work at about 5pm. She got home close to 6pm with Nick. A couple of hours later, she was giving him a bath and he started having a seizure.

Nick's mom called 911 and they took him to the hospital. The doctor noted that he had a couple of bruises on his ears. Bruises his mom denied knowing anything about. CT scans and x rays were ordered. Nick had a skull fracture. And a broken arm. And a couple of broken ribs. And retinal hemorrhages. He also had an old break in his leg. And a couple of more broken ribs that were healing.

In short, he had injuries in multiple stages of healing. This baby had been abused on more than one occasion. In his very, very short life.

I don't know who shook this baby (because that absolutely is what happened), but somebody did. My strong suspicion is that he was actually shaken by more than one person, and on more than one occasion. I don't think we'll ever know who was responsible for these atrocities.

Here's what I do know. Nick is blind in one eye. He isn't able to eat on his own (will always need a feeding tube). He has frequent seizures. I have no idea what developmental milestones he may meet. He has a new family who loves him. And the list of what he's lost, it's too long. So is the list of what his parents lost.

Today's lesson:
You, yes you, have the power to prevent child abuse. And here is what you can do. Learn the facts about child abuse, educate yourself. Talk about abuse - with your family, with your partner, with your childcare providers, with your children. Listen to your gut - if something feels like it isn't right, it probably isn't. Know what to do if you have suspicions. Get involved. But, above all, know your limits. Because(and here's your one statistic for today) most often the person responsible for a child's abuse, is one of his parents.

I'm tired of seeing the Nicks of the world in my child protection office, in my Emergency Department, when I'm doing therapy. I'm tired of there being Nicks in the world. We are all responsible for protecting all of our children. If we work together, if we all act when we have a suspicion, if we keep our eyes open, we can stop it.  So that the Nicks of the world will be happy, loved, and safe.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Ignore Secondary Trauma

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Their theme this year is Don't Ignore Infertility. We are charged with starting with "Don't Ignore..." and choosing an aspect of Infertility to tackle. Go HERE for more information or to participate.

I have a friend, well she and her husband are our friends. They're a funny, energetic couple who are successful in their professional lives and in their marriage. They love each other, y'all. Seriously, Love with a capital L. It took them a long time to decide that they wanted to try to have babies (or rather a baby, singular). But they did. And then Infertility reared her ugly face.

And, for some reason, this has hit me really hard. I've watched other friends dealing with infertility. Hell, I've lived with my own for almost 10 years. But, for some reason, seeing these particular funny, dear friends starting to sift through infertility has hit me differently. Seeing these two people who took such care in deciding whether they "should" be parents, who will be the most loving, hilarious (in good way!) brilliant parents and will teach their children to care for others and just be good people, to see them struggle to get there is so upsetting for me.

Now, I absolutely have faith that they will make it through this and will have a sweet baby on the other side. But I so wish there wasn't this awful path on the way to that baby. I know their faith and the strength of their relationship will get them through through this ordeal. I just wish they could be spared the pain. While I see them dealing with it gracefully, I'm kind of a mess at times.

I wish I could articulate the reasons why their struggle is so upsetting to me. Like, even to myself I wish I could articulate it. I guess it comes down to secondary trauma, or even PTSD. Seeing this friend - for some reason - dealing with her own infertility, brings up all those same feelings for me. It's a re-traumatizing of sorts, I suppose.

I have always been sensitive to others' pain. Now, I don't mean that in a "hey look at me, I think about other people all the time" kind of way". I mean it in a "if I see you crying and you're in pain, I'll probably start to cry, too" kind of a way. I'm pretty sure I have my mom to blame for this.

At any rate, I think there are times when I can pretend that my own pain with IF is gone. That I've dealt with it and am okay. And I suppose for the most part that's true. But, when seeing other people, especially dear friends, head down this same road, it hits me in the gut again, and I am transported back to that time when the IF pain was constant and frequently overwhelming.

And so, the thing that I don't want people to ignore about IF is that it doesn't just go away. It's something we carry with us. Something that we can't just forget about. Something we can't just let go of. Just ignore. Just because we have children. It's still there.

Today's Lesson: Infertility sucks. It changes your path in life, for good in some ways, not so much in others. And it doesn't just go away when parenthood is achieved.  Hit up these sites for more information about infertility in general, and NIAW week specifically.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day

Today's HAWMC prompt is to make your own memo reminder, a la this website. And, since today is the 42nd annual Earth Day (as well as my friend Doug's birthday and he loves this day so much. Not really, though), I thought I'd write a note about that.

I know there's controversy about lots of things related to environmentalism and Earth Day (Is the earth's temperature really increasing because of humans? Are the world's oceans really on the brink of ecological collapse? And probably a hundred other possibly valid questions). But here's what it comes down to for me - we live here. We are responsible to treat our earth with respect. Period.

So, if only for today (though heaven knows we should do it every darn day!), don't forget to... Recycle. Turn off lights. Don't litter. Use cloth diapers. Don't flush old medications down the toilet. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. Walk more. Drive less. Compost. Buy local. Eat local.  Do something.

Today's lesson: It's Earth Day, y'all. Don't forget that we're all responsible. Do something good today for the earth - and for us all! (Also, man, that freaking "post it not" up there took me a LONG time to do! I am no good with the computer graphics stuff.) Also, Happy Birthday, Doug :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Bumblebee

Today's HAWMC prompt is to make your own Health Madlib poem. Now, this seems like a fun idea, right? But, every time I tried to do this one of two things happened. First, I looked at aaallllllllll the words it wanted me to fill in, got completely overwhelmed and promptly left the site. This probably happened 5 or 6 times. At least.

Or second, I filled them in, and the result was absolutely, completely nonsensical. And not even in a minutely funny way. Like in a makes no freaking sense kind of way. And this seems appropriate, because that is usually what happens when I try to write poetry. Remember my attempts at Haiku? These were so much worse than even that.

So, I was left with a "what do I write today?" conundrum. And then someone posted this quotation on FB. (I'm all about the quotes/inspiration from FB lately, apparently).

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway." ~ Mary Kay Ash

This reminds me so much of Baby E and all toddlers. Baby E is completely fearless. He climbs on everything, doesn't care how high. He explores everything. He will taste anything (food, compost, mud, whatev'). He loves with abandon. He just is. He isn't confined by fears. Or thoughts of what he isn't capable of. He simply believes he can do it all.

And I LOVE this about him, about toddlers.

Now, don't get me wrong, it can also be infuriating and completely scary about baby E, too, because he doesn't know that there are some things he should be afraid of. But, for the most part, I love to watch him try things over and over, refusing to believe that he can't do something. The possibility that he can't do something really just never enters his mind. It never dawns on him, "Hey, it may be that I just am not capable of this". Instead he sits and stews on it. Tries and tries and tries. Coming at things at different angles. Until he does in fact succeed.

Or has a complete meltdown. But even that isn't because he has realized he can't do it. He assumes it's because something isn't cooperating as it should.

Today's Lesson: Toddlers are amazingly simple creatures. They can do anything. If only the rest of the world would cooperate with them. I see so many older children and adults who could use a good dose of that "I can do it" mentality. Certainly, there are moments when I could use one, too.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I'm probably going to cry writing this post. I'll probably cry if I ever read it later, too. I'll probably avoid it for a long time. And, in hindsight, I probably shouldn't be writing it at work. Too late.

It all started earlier this week. Hubby came upstairs and said, "I'm just giving you an emotional heads up. The milk is just about gone. There's maybe a week's worth left down in the freezer. Do you hear me? It's almost gone". I nodded or acknowledged him in some nonverbal way.

But mostly I just tried to ignore what he'd said. Because, what it means, is that as soon as that other mommas' milk is gone, baby E and I will be done nursing. And I can't deal with that just yet. But apparently I have to. Apparently it's inevitable. And soon.

Baby E won't drink cow's milk. Not in a cup. Not in the SNS (nursing). Not even if it's mixed with bm. He seems to know if there's as little as an oz mixed in with 4oz of bm. He's just not having it. And he's never been a comfort nurser. If he's going to nurse, it's to get milk. And, while I still have some of my own (I think), it's not much. And it certainly doesn't come out fast enough for his liking.

So, we're going to be done. And I'm devastated. It never dawned on me that this would be the reason we'd wean. I thought I'd be ready to stop. Or he would just decide he was done. I never though lack of milk would be the reason.

I called a few of our previous donors, though none of them have any milk right now. Of course, I did get back on HM4HB and ask for milk. But I feel horribly guilty going there (and also don't have huge hopes of it panning out). I know there are little babies who need what milk there is available. And my big, almost 19mon old boy, well, he just doesn't need it in the same way they do.

I'm sure many of you are thinking, "for the love of all things holy! You've nursed that child for more than a year and a half! Let. It. Go.". And part of my rational brain is saying that, too. But. But! I'm just so sad. Mostly because I don't think baby E is done. And he's going to be confused and sad.

And, also, I'm pissed. This is just one more reminder of infertility and of all the ways my body has/continues to fail me.

Soon I will be able to write a post about how grateful I am for the nursing time we had. How special it was for both of us. I'll know that he'll be fine. That I'll be fine. But for right now, I'm just sad and mad. And crying. At work.

Today's Lesson: Today's HAWMC prompt is to write an announcement about a miracle cure. You know what I would cure? Stupid ass infertility. I. HATE. IT!!!!!!!!! And that is neither an announcement nor a lesson. But it's the best I can do today. (Stupid ass infertility...she mutters repeatedly)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Hard Road

Today's HAWMC prompt is to write about who'd you'd invite to dinner if you could have any 5 guests. I'm just not a fan of that prompt, so I'm skipping it.

A friend posted this picture on facebook the other day.  I probably should have taken note of where she got it, you know, so I could give that person credit. But, alas, I did not. Just know I didn't make it. Obviously.

As I looked at it, I had this moment where I sat there, staring at it, trying to figure out why it was resonating with me. And then what came to me was "exactly. EXACTLY!!!!!!". Let me explain.

We make so many assumption's about other people. About the choices they make. About who they are. About why they do things. Questioning why they didn't just [do x, y, or z]. But, really, the only perspective we have in looking at their issue/problem/whatever, is our own. We may see other options that are obviously better. We may *know* that [x, y, or z] will produce better results. However, we neglect to realize that just because we see something as an option, doesn't mean that that person does. We have no idea what the problem looks like through their eyes. We have no idea.

Take my kid. His behavior has been a bit challenging of late (thanks to asthma and the crappy sleep that causes). I watch him make decisions that are obviously bad ones, or just plain ineffective. I think "why doesn't he just [x, y, or z]?!!!". I feel frustrated with him and sometimes lose my temper, yelling (because I've already asked him to stop something, or to do something, four hundred and eighty-three times that day). I ask why he didn't make a different choice. And he stares at me like I've grown a 2nd head. And I feel more than irritated. But, perhaps to him, my assumption that he saw another choice is tantamount to my growing a 2nd head.

So this reminds me. Other options may be painfully obvious to me. But that doesn't mean they are to him. And for a variety of reasons. Perhaps this isn't a situation he's been in before. Perhaps he doesn't have the words to express what he wants to say. Perhaps his experience has taught him that the solution that seems so obvious and "perfect" to me won't work for him. Perhaps there is much more going on than the little bit I've seen. Perhaps he has another reason, one *I* can't see.

Regardless, my judgement about his choice being a "bad" one, isn't going to help matters. All I can do is be there to support him in the choice he is making. Gently offer him alternatives that I see, help him question his own assumptions (and do the same for my own). In the end, all I can do is allow him to make the choice. And then be there to help him process that choice. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Today's Lesson: That's all we can do for any one. Just because we don't like, or don't agree, with someone else's decision, doesn't give us the right to make a judgement about them or that decision. We have no idea what led them to that decision. Perhaps we may see 18 other roads. They, however, may only see the one. It doesn't make them wrong, or us right. It is simply the different realities that we all live in. Because each of us sees different roads in front of us. It's a reminder we all need occasionally.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today's HAWMC's prompt is to open a book, point to a sentence/phrase and use that to start writing. Seeing as I love to read, this seems like it would be an easy one for me. However, I've become a Kin.dle addict...and I can't find an actual book. One that's an adult book at least. Although I suppose I could use one of the kid books around. Heaven knows there are hundreds (quite literally) of those. Also, the Kin.dle is charging and I can't figure out how to read on it while it's charging.

Someone asked me the other day to recommend a book (Hi, Astrid - this is for you!). And I've been thinking about my response to her. Honestly, I love to read. And I read quickly. So, I only read long books. If a book is less than 150pgs, I don't even consider it, because I'll be done with it in a couple of hours and just feel irritated.

Also, I mostly read easy, light books. I love me some classics, too, but for the most part, when I choose a book to read, I pick something that I can get through. I want something that will allow me to zone-out. I deal with enough drama and human suffering at work. In my books, I want some place where I can escape and enjoy.

So, here are a few of the books I've been reading lately:
  • The Anne of Green Gables series (these were a childhood favorite and I return to them every once in awhile.)
  • The Hunger Games (loved this series! Read them all twice. May read them again. Don't judge.)
  • The Harry Potter books (I know, somehow I've not read them until now. But, as soon as they were released on Kin.dle a couple weeks ago, I jumped on board. I'm almost done with the 2nd one now.)
  • Mary Poppins (the kid and I are reading this one together. He's been promised a Momma date to watch it - including popcorn, pretty please, Momma dearest!! - once we finish.)
  • Any fiction about the British royals, circa 1400-1700. (Seriously fascinating. To me at least.)
  • The Help (This meets my criteria because it was funny and it seemed like one of those books I couldn't NOT read.)
For the most part, if it's long, looks light, easy, or funny, I'll probably at least try it. And free. Did I mention free? I'm all about the free Kind.le books. And there are a lot of them, which makes my little book lovin' heart utterly happy. It also makes hubby's (occasionally) cheapass heart happy, too :)

I know that's seriously vague, but it's the truth of my "book" collection. It makes me feel a little bit fluffy and not at all intellectual. But it is what it is.

Today's lesson: Books are magical. They allow us to explore, escape, learn. I can only hope to instill in my children a love of reading. I know it is certainly a gift my mother gave to me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learned the Hard Way

Today's HAWMC post is to write about a lesson you learned the hard way.

I was having a conversation with some friends the other day. We were talking about some girl (I don't even remember who she was) who is talented in many ways - athletically, musically, academically. The others were talking about what a lovely girl she must be, how awesome for her to be good at so many things. And all I could think was, "it's going to be really hard for her when she eventually hits against something that she's not good at, because it will happen. And it's going to knock the wind out of her in a most surprising - and sucky - way".

I think I've mentioned before that most things came pretty easily to me when I was younger. School was always easy (still is). I wasn't one of the "popular kids" but didn't struggle socially. Sure, my parents were divorced and that came with its own difficulties. But, overall, childhood, adolescence and young adulthood were pretty straightforward and without an overabundance of strife.

I'd always been able to achieve anything I wanted to. If I decided I was going to do something, that I wanted to achieve something, then I did. It really was about that simple. And things went along in the order I'd assumed they should (college, marriage, job, dog, house).

Enter infertility.

Infertility taught me, among a plethora of other things, that just because I want something, doesn't mean I'll get it. I can do everything I'm "supposed" to do, and still, things may not work out like I want them to.

Now, this may seem like an obvious lesson to many of you, but it wasn't to me. I really grew up with the belief that if I just worked hard enough, prayed enough, did all the right things, talked it out enough, was stubborn enough, etc... it would be mine. I'm not sure who would have told me this (though someone obviously did at some point) but my experiences in life up until that point certainly reiterated that errant belief.

How I wish this was a lesson I could have learned an easier way, on something I didn't want quite so much. Not that IF would have sucked any less necessarily, but perhaps it would have been a little less painful. Perhaps I might have accepted it sooner, saving myself some pain, moving on to adoption earlier. Perhaps, if nothing else, it would have been a bit less shocking to know that I couldn't simply will something to happen.

Today's lesson: We are all the sums of all of our experiences. And I realize  that if we had moved to adoption sooner, probably we wouldn't have the kid, who I wouldn't trade for anything. So it's hard to wish things had happened any differently. And yet, to have ended up with the same result, but with a somewhat less painful path, that seems good. Unlikely, but good.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ants. And HANDS.

I'm supposed to be waging war against the nasty, filthy, disgusting, creepy, persistent little ants that have infested my kitchen right now. Instead I am here, writing you a post to tell you that I'm busy with the ants and so won't be writing a HAWMC post today. That's also because I didn't like the prompt - to create a Pinterest board about my health issue. Seeing as how I have written about 5 (or 32) different health issues already this month, that seemed like it would be more complicated than I wanted to delve into.

I have decided that I'd provide you with a link today, one that has nothing to do with my health issue(s). However, it is about the program I used to work for and still love. HANDS is a home visitation program for first-time parents. It's an awesome resource (even if it does tend to be really, um, not crunchy at all). AND (!!) there's an article about it in TIME magazine today. Which is freaking awesome. It's nice for this state, which is so often at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to children, to be recognized for doing something right. (EDITED: Um, I forgot to add the link. Blonde moment. Stupid ants. Here it is TIME article about HANDS).

The damn ants are taunting me. And carrying off my sweet potatoes.

Today's Lesson: Every parent can benefit from a resource like HANDS and preventative programs are how we're going to really make a difference in kids' and families' lives. Also, ants like vanilla.  And peanut butter. And compost. And honey. But not uncooked pasta.

P.S. How the hell do I get rid of these damn ants????!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

PAIL monthly topic: What Kind of Parent Am I?

What kind of a parent do I want to be? What kind of a parent am I? This is the topic for the Monthly PAIL theme post. (Side Note: The HAWMC prompt for today is to write about your writing style. So, I'm just tweaking that a little right? Exchanging "writing" for "parenting". Same diff...)

At 22, I started working for Child Protective Services. I'd babysat for years (like, since probably an age when I still needed a babysitter myself). I obviously knew a lot about parenting. Ha. I had a lot of ideas about what parents "should" do. I would never spank my children. I would always be calm with my children.  I would exclusively breastfeed my children. I would feed my children only the foods recommended by WIC, and on their schedule.

 I had a lot of ideas about how my children would act. My children would never have tantrums,especially in public. My children would sleep in their own beds, all night long.  My children would be on a schedule. My children would never watch television.

6 years later, when the kid finally came along, I learned that I really didn't know much. I breastfed, but, you know, it wasn't with much breastmilk and, really, bottles were just fine, too. I wasn't always the calm parent I'd expected myself to be. I even spanked him a couple of times (though I immediately - and still - regretted it). I lost my temper and yelled frequently.

Some things did happen as I'd planned. I was all about the schedule; feeding, sleeping - they occurred per the schedule. The kid never slept with us, he was always in his own bed. The kid didn't watch TV - as in it wasn't on at our house if he was awake - until he was 3ish (or even a little older). Also, he rarely had tantrums (and to this date, I can only think of 1 that happened in public, though heaven knows it was a doozy).

By the time baby E was born, I thought I had this parenting thing figured out. But he quickly schooled me. What I actually had figured out was the kid. Not parenting so much.

As you all know, baby E slept with us. For a long time. The TV is frequently on when he's awake Fortunately, I haven't ever spanked him. As for feeding, you'll remember our experience with Babyled Weaning, which is probably abhorred by the public health community as a whole. Babywearing is still - at 18 months - a big part of my parenting strategy. We continue to breastfeed (the horror! He has TEETH! And can ASK FOR IT!!) and use breastmilk milk from other mothers. And, really, a schedule?! Hilarious. Also, let's not even mention the whole cloth diapering thing or his mad tantrum-throwing skills.

As of right now, I think I border on being a crunchy mom ("extended" breastfeeding, milksharing, babywearing, babyled weaning, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, to name a few). But I'm willing to bet that, should I be fortunate enough to parent a 3rd child, the way I do it would change again. Because what my two boys have taught me, is that parenting is less about the parent, than it is about the child.  I can have all these plans and intentions, but that doesn't mean - at all - that they'll work for that particular child.

So, when I think about who I truly want to be as a parent, this is it. I want to be loving, trustworthy, and honest. I want to be a good example for my children of how we treat others. I want to provide a nurturing environment that will support them in becoming good, healthy and compassionate people.

That's it.

If a schedule helps them achieve that, then we'll do it. We believe babywearing and breastfeeding do, which is why that continues. We believe spanking is counter-intuitive to that goal, so we'll continue to use other forms of discipline and redirection. Cloth diapering, I believe, is actually one way we are teaching our children to be respectful (to the earth, and to future generations) as well as being healthier for them. What foods we start at what ages or what bed they sleep in, neither of those really makes a significant difference.

So, today, the parent I want to be, is the one who only focuses on the things that are really important. Consider me a work in progress.

Today's lesson: Before my kids were born, I had all these ideas about how parenting "should" be done. Parenting is individual. Individual to the parent. But especially individual to the child. Children don't come with instruction manuals because they're not cars, or TV's. They're all different, just as parents are. And any attempt of the one-size fits all mentality is just laughable, or frustrating.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Dream Day

Today's HAWMC prompt is to write about your dream day.

I could get all kumbayah-social work-y on you, and say that really my perfect day would be one where no one is abused or neglected. Everyone has enough to eat. Wars are ceased. Mental illness is overcome. All that jazz. And that's true. Of course. But it seemed too obvious.

So here are my selfish thoughts.

As I've thought about this, I've realized I can't really think of one specific dream day. Or rather, I can think of several different scenarios that would fit that description for me. And it all depends on the day, really. And how well my kids have been sleeping lately, lol.

One involves me, alone, in comfy pjs reading a book (or 4) all day, chilling on the couch and napping as needed. Another is a family day where everyone gets to nap (at the same time - this part is important!!!!), everyone is in a great mood, and it doesn't really matter what we're doing. Another is us all camping when the weather is just perfect, blue skies, low 80's, and again, everyone is well rested and happy. Another is me, at a spa (haircut, pedi, massage, mimosas in hand - ahhhhh) with my girlfriends, carefree, having fun and laughing hysterically all day long.

I'm a simple girl. I think, really, it all comes down to sleep for me. If me, hubby, and both boys are well rested and not cranky for any other reason, I am a happy girl. As long as I'm also fed. This is also important.

Today's lesson: Feed the momma. Let her sleep. All is well.

Friday, April 13, 2012

10 Things

Today's HAWMC Challenge is to list 10 Things I Couldn't Live Without. Without further adieu...

1. My family (kids, hubby, etc...) - Obviously

2. My friends - They love me, they love my kids, they help me be creative and feel sane. Don't know where I'd be without them.

3. Water - totally not being facetious there. I drink tons and TONS of water. It's pretty much the only thing I drink ever. And I get major headaches when I don't drink enough. We're talking about probably every drop of a 2L of water every day.

4. Books - I've said it before, I love to read!

5. Sun screen - I'm pale. Really, really pale. And really, really prone to sunburn. And sunburn hurts. And causes wrinkles. But mostly hurts.

6. Ad.vil - I have awful cramps during my period. And it's the only thing that works. Granted, it's probably about 3 pills more than is "recommended", but whatev'. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to simply get outta bed some days.

7. Sleep - nearly a year and a half of nights that were punctuated with 2, 3, 4, or more wakings, I can't ever do that again.

8. Melatonin - you know, for baby E. It's the only way I've been getting nearly full nights of sleep the past month. And it. is. heavenly. (And I refer you to #7)

9. Outlets to help people - I am pretty darn sure I could be a stay-at-home momma. But I would still have to have some kind of outlet to support kids and families.

10. Chocolate - Okay, I could totally live without this. And, it would probably mean I'd be about 10lbs lighter. But, the important question is, would I want to? Also, I really couldn't think of anything else.

What would be on your list of things you couldn't live without? You know, beyond the obvious (family and friends).

Today's lesson - Strangely, it's kind of hard, sometimes, to think of 10 things you really couldn't do without. And, honestly, the people on this list are it. I could live without the rest. Well, except for water. I mean, because, really, your body actually HAS to have that to survive.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lucky 300

My HAWMC prompt today was to start with the sentence "This morning I looked in the mirror and saw______________", and then just keep writing, don't stop, don't edit. Just post. So here it is.

This morning I looked in the mirror and saw me. And, after critiquing the eyebrows due for a few plucks, and the 2nd chin I hate, I thought, "you know what, I am a blogger". It's probably the first time I've thought of myself as an actual blogger. I mean, I've described myself as someone who writes a blog. But to say "I am a blogger" seems different somehow.

Today, you see, is my 300th post. Now, some of those posts were guest posts (3 to be exact, I believe). But, to be fair, I did write intros to all of those. So I think it still counts. And that's a lot of words, folks. (Yes, we know, they respond. We have had to read all that crap you write.)

I never dreamed when I started this blog, that I'd still be at it 3 months shy of three years later. To be honest, I kind of thought I'd get 4 or 5 posts in, and it would lie dormant. Like forever. One of those things that I start but don't finish because it's another task I didn't have time for.

Turns out this is quite an outlet for me. A place where I can say (nearly) anything I need to say. It's a place where I was able to, for the first time, really talk about and process infertility. A place where I've found support, unexpectedly. A place where I've connected with people who have "been there" and those, who even though they haven't been there, still get me. I hope I've been able to impart some laughter and maybe even a little insight along the way. I know I've certainly gained a lot of them.

So, thank you, people. Thank you for reading my words. For writing some back to me. For not telling me I'm a complete idiot (except when I am being one, of course). For simply being here.

Wonder if I have another 300 in me...

Today's lesson: Really, those unexpected things in life can teach us the most about ourselves, can't they?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Healing Music

Today's HAWMC prompt is to come up with a theme song. Now, it suggests you write your own lyrics. And, to be honest, that's just not gonna happen from this girl. I love me some music (all kinds), but a song writer I am not. So, instead I thought I'd muse over the importance of music in my life.

You may or may not know, but I played the violin for about 11 years. Now please don't confuse the longevity of my playing with any actual talent in that area. I wasn't awful, but practicing was never my thing. I didn't aspire to be great. Mostly, I just wanted to be able to be a part of making music, and truthfully just be in the midst of it. I loved orchestra. It was one of my favorite times of day. To be surrounded by people who made me laugh, and listen to beautiful music (that I just tried not to make sound worse).

The university I attended didn't have an orchestra, so my violin playing quickly fell to the side. But I did continue to sing (you know, because in that way I was pretty good at making music). I sang, mostly at church, for years. Though once hubby and I got married, that petered out, too. Mostly, now, I sing in the car and to my boys. I've told you before how important that is to me.

As I think about music, I consider how much music has helped me through the years when I was having a bad moment. How many memories - good and bad - are tied to a particular song. The song that reminds me of the good times I had with the ex (who will probably now forever be known here as "the stalker"). The song that instantly takes me back to one of the most peaceful moments in my life which happened when I was in Italy. Lin.kin Park, which I play in the car when I'm good and ticked off, or just plain cranky (and it helps me out of my funk). Songs that instantly take me back to the throws of infertility (those I try to avoid for the most part, unless I'm in need of a good cry, lol).

Music is powerful. It has the ability to help us give words to emotions we can't explain ourselves. It makes memories indelible, easily recalled with just a few notes. It helps us relax, release, recover. Music is even better than magic. Because it's something we all can do - can all create - in some form or fashion. And, to me, the desire for music seems ingrained in our human DNA.

So, get out there and enjoy some music today. Also, if you want to write me a theme song, go at it.

Today's lesson: Music, lyrics, notes, rhythms. They are powerful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Letter to a 16yo Becky

Today's HAWMC prompt is to write a letter to your 16yo self. There are so many things I could say to my younger self, but since this is a health-related prompt, I'll stick to a health issue. It's one I haven't talked about here before, but it's one I feel passionately about. Stalking.

So, here's my go at it.

In many ways your life has been straightforward. It will continue to be for the next several years. But there are a few things you should know.

That ex-boyfriend you can't decide whether you're done with, please know that you are done with him. There is another boy, who you'll meet in a couple of years. He is by no means perfect, but he's just right for you. This one is not. He will not realize that for several years, though.

That sick feeling you get in your gut, listen to it. The ex is going to get a little crazy. That gut feeling will keep you safe. Listen. To. It. You will be scared sometimes, unnerved frequently, but you will be okay. As long as you listen to that gut.

He will show up. At your house. At college. Out in public. He will leave 25 page letters at your front door in the middle of the night. When you wake up at 2am, it will be because he is standing by the tree in your front yard. When you go on vacation, he will break into your house and steal one of your bras (for a 2nd time). He will call. A lot.

He will talk about how he can't live without you. And while he will never verbally threaten to hurt you, it will feel slightly implied. Just enough to make you worry about when the next time he will show up will be, but not enough to be able to really verbalize why you feel so icky.

Here's the other part of what I want you to about it (just not with him - that, I can promise, will only fuel the fire). Mom, your friends, a teacher, the police officer mom will call when the 2nd bra is stolen (yes, she really will. And yes, it will be embarrassing to talk to that man about your bra. Horribly, awfully embarrassing). Find someone. Because maybe they can make him stop sooner so you don't have to deal with it, with him, as long as I did. Also, maybe you talking about it, especially with your friends, will help them realize when they are the victims of stalking themselves. Because that will happen, too.

There's a lot you don't know yet about life. And that's okay. You'll learn it when you're ready. There will be bumps, some little, some mountainous. You will make it over them all. Lots of things will not happen like you expect them to. That doesn't mean you won't be okay. Because you will. You will be better than okay. You will be great.

The you that's twice your age.

Today's Lesson: The legal definition of stalking is "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear". 3.4 million people in the US are stalked each years, most of them by someone they know, many by someone with whom they had an intimate relationship. Many of them don't even realize that's what happening. I didn't.

I'd been a social worker for 10 years before I realized I had been stalked by a high school boyfriend. It went on for more than 5 years. And while I never identified my uncomfortable and nervous feelings, my frequently looking over my shoulder, and wondering when he'd next show up as stalking, that's what it was.  We need to talk about stalking because it is a real and very prevalent problem in our society.  He never hurt me. I was lucky.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Keep Calm...

Today's HAWMC prompt is to make your own Keep Calm poster. (Go to to make your own.)

So often people get all worked up about even possibly catching a glimpse of a boob when someone is nursing her baby. People, it's just a boob. We ALL have them. And heaven knows that is what they're there for. To clarify, I mean they're there for feeding babies, not for ogling. And I know there is a whole contingent of people who think that breastfeeding in public is acceptable, as long as it's done discretely.

I need a moment to even recover from writing that.

Because, honestly, if you have a problem with how I'm feeding my child, it's actually your problem. Not mine. Not my child's.

So, no. We will not go into another room (much less the bathroom!) just to make you comfortable. I put up with the horrible table manners of some of you, so you can handle a slightly possible glimpse of side boob. And, no. I will not try to cover him with a blanket. Mostly because he'll have none of that. But also, why should I have to? If you're uncomfortable with the off chance of seeing something, look the other way.

And so I say...

Today's lesson: Really, it's just a boob.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Conversation in the Woods

My HAWMC prompt today is "What's the best conversation you've had this week?". This was an easy one for me. A brief conversation, but memorable.

We're walking through the woods. Our first hike of the season. I'm carrying baby E on my back in the Boba carrier. We're in the rear. 25 extra lbs is a lot to carry up a ridge. Baby E is just about to nod off. He's been quiet and observant since I strapped him on. The kid is running out in front. Always anxious to be first in line.Chattering away as he tends to do.  Hubby is in the middle of us. Keeping track of the kid. Making sure I don't lag too far behind. Offering encouragement to both of us.

"Momma, look at this snail! They're everywhere, momma!" He shows me the 5th snail he's picked up. He's enamoured with each one.

"Momma, look at this beautiful flower! I think it's a wild iris!" He's right. It is both beautiful and a wild iris.

I remind him that we don't pick flowers when we're hiking. He nods his head in agreement. And I see him drop something from 1 of his hands. A flash of purple.  He runs on ahead again, intentionally not looking back at me.

We walk in silence for a few minutes. The only sounds I hear are baby E softly snoring and the crunch of our feet on last fall's leaves.


 "Yes, baby?"

 "This is life. And it is a good and beautiful life."

Hubby looks back at me. Smiles. Shakes his head that this child is so smart. That this child is ours. I smile back.

"Yes, baby. Yes, it is."

Today's lesson: If your child has a better sense of direction than you do, you should just believe him when he tells you which direction to go on the trail. He's probably right. And you, who can't find your way out of a paper bag, are probably wrong. Listen to the 6yo.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Breast is Best Followup

"I would much prefer that the breastmilk campaign be less militant. I think it's a reaction to how puritanical our society is. I agree that it should be seen as normal, and that includes bfing in public. That being said, the radically pro bf'ers should back off when it comes to formula feeding. It's not best, but it works fine in some situations, and we all make choices. (Or the choices get made for us whether we want them or not)."

This comment by Geochick on my post Breast is Best got me thinking. And then I ran into this article.
(Go on, check it out, I'll wait. Although I did post it on my FB page, so you may have read it then.)  There was also this comment in the article that spoke to me.

"Why is it that when we want to impart accurate information about childhood nutrition, such as eat more fruits/veggies, less processed food, healthier snacks, no refined flours/sugars, less fast food, etc., we do not hold back for fear of sending a “guilt message” to some working mom in the audience who relies on frozen/canned veggies,prepackaged snacks, fast food, and never quite got her toddler to love whole whole wheat bread…we seem to have no problem sending THAT message, and we certainly don’t follow this up with “but, you know, if you are really busy, white bread, canned veggies,fast food, and processed snacks are fine”. Even though it is now well known that these eating habits lead to childhood obesity and a host of other illnesses."

Here's the thing. It's not that breastfeeding is best. It's that breastfeeding is normal. And formula has risks. It seems as though because we're so afraid to make someone else feel guilty, we've softened it. But that softening has led to a de-normalization of breastfeeding. And that's in no one's best interest.

But, here is the real issue I'm addressing today. I am responsible for my own feelings. If I feel guilty about something, that is MY reaction, which I need to own. I am responsible for whether or not I feel guilty about a choice I have made. It is not the person who said something else that truly MADE me feel guilty. *I* am responsible for my own feelings and reactions. No one has the power to MAKE me feel anything.

I understand that many people are turned off by those who they consider "breastfeeding Nazis". I get that. Honestly, as a mom who felt she had no other choice than to feed my 1st child formula, I so relate to hating the self-righteousness of some people who do believe that absolutely everyone (EVERYONE!!!) can produce for her infant enough breastmilk for 6-12 months, or more.

Sometimes people make really judgemental statements and toss out words that certainly can be hurtful. However, it is my own doubts about the choices I have made that led to me feeling guilty, not the words of others. It's my own doubting that maybe I didn't do everything I could have to produce enough milk to feed the boys that leaves me feeling guilty. What if I had just pumped at night before they were born? What if I had taken more herbs? What if I had pumped more/after they nursed? What if...what if...what if...and DAMN IT infertility for messing this up too!!!! 

*I* am responsible for my own guilt. No one else. We all make choices. Some of them are good decisions, based on thorough and accurate information. Some are simply the best we could do at that particular time. It's all those "coulda, shoulda, woulda's" that we say to ourselves that leaves us feeling guilty. Self-doubt is the culprit. Not other people.

Now, the question or whether or not that guilt is warranted, is a whole different issue (and only one each individual can answer for herself). Also, the issue of using donor milk, which has largely assuaged much of my own guilt, is a separate issue. One, I believe, would likely help the guilty feelings others experience, if only they could become comfortable with feeding their children "some other woman's milk". Again, an issue for another day.

Today's lesson: We are often far too eager to blame things on others. If what I want is my children to take responsibility for their own feelings and behaviors, then what I have to do as their mother is show them how to do it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Haiku Day

Pregnancy: Plan A
Adoption: was my Plan B
Parenthood - God's plan

Hormones, tears, sadness
Suck it infertility
I have my 2 boys

Nursing Baby E
bonding, immunity, love
Wouldn't trade this time

Today's lesson: Sometimes 17 syllables are all it takes.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today's HAWMC challenge is to go to flickr, find an image and write a post inspired by that image. For some reason, I (as a fairly computer/Internet literate person) can't get a picture from there to post here. Which kind of makes the post hard to do. I mean, I could try to describe the really cool picture of all these waterfalls in a Twi.light-ish background, but it doesn't seem quite the same. So, instead, I'm going to talk about the change in my blog background.

I've had the same template since I started this blog about 2 years ago. Mostly I haven't changed it because, well, perhaps I was a bit lazy. And a tad overwhelmed by trying to find a new background that I liked, as that was a bit of a challenge the first time around. Today, though, seemed a good time to find something new.

Lately, things in my life have seemed to...well...shift slightly. It's not that anything big has changed, or anything dramatic has happened. Not at all. Which may be the difference. Perhaps it is that the chaos and constant ups and downs of the last 2 years have finally settled a bit.

Are there still things we are struggling with? Absolutely. We continue to grieve MIL's passing. I know that Mothers' day next month will be hard. My weight and feelings about it - just ick. Infertility, well, it will always suck.

But, all of these things are starting to feel a little more manageable of late. And overall it seems like we've entered a new season. And it feels like Spring. Spring is my favorite season. Everything is blooming. Fresh. Colorful, New. Hopeful. I don't remember the last time it was here. And I am so very glad to see its return.

Today's lesson: It's interesting how the seasons of our lives don't always coincide with the seasons of the calendar. Spring for me does not equate Spring for a neighbor and friend who finds herself mourning the loss of her baby, who was born much too soon. Please join me in sending love and prayers to this beautiful woman and her husband.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I write because...

Specifically, I write about infertility because...
I don't want to forget the journey we've taken to parenthood
I want our children to know how much they were wanted
I want other women to know they are not alone
I want people to know that infertility isn't something we have to bear in silence
I need a way to process the feelings infertility has left me with
I use it is an outlet to support others
I need support myself from others who have also "been there"
I want a record of it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly

Today's lesson: Writing for 15 minutes straight is harder than it sounds. And, it seems, is something I'm not capable of. At least on only a few hours of sleep.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Super Momma!!!

You may not know this, but Superheros reign in my house. This is not only because I have two boys, though they - both! - do love the Superheros. Hubby, however, is the instigator of the Superhero love in our house. MIL used to tell me how hubby would insist that a kitchen towel be clothespinned to his shirt and jump off all manner of furniture. How he never broke anything is beyond me.

If you couldn't guess (or if you don't know him IRL), his favorite was - and is - Superman. I think he loves that Superman is a real "good guy" in addition to his fabulous superpowers. I mean, seriously, he has a laundry list of them. Heaven forbid someone tries to debate hubby about who is the "better" Superhero. I mean, really, if you vote for someone else, you kind of lose some credibility in hubby's eyes (Sorry, J, but it's true!).

All this Superhero love in my house means that superheros and their superpowers are a rather frequent topic of conversation. The other day I asked the kid what his superpower would be. He responded initially with a "duh" accompanied by an eye roll. When asked for clarification, he explained that of course he would be able to fly. And help people. And be super strong. And have "heat-o-vision, 'cause it's just super cool. You know, so I can make fires when we go camping". Obviously.

So then I asked him what baby E's superpowers would be. First he laughed and laughed. Apparently, it hadn't occurred to him that his baby brother could have superpowers, too. So, he gave it some thought and decided Baby E would be super fast. And, since he already has dancing skills, that would be his superpower, too. Couldn't really get out of him what good that would do.

What about Poppa? Well, Poppa would also be really strong. And also have "the heat-o-vision".

And Momma? Well, Momma's superpower would be, well.. it would be... well... Apparently it is even more difficult to know what Momma's superpower would be. Eventually, he decided that Momma would be able to help lots and lots of people make good choices and take them to the hospital. "Actually, what your superpower will be is to be a supernurse. No, wait! Actually, it will be to be a super social worker. 'Cause we all know that's even better than a nurse". (Um, sorry to all you nurses out there!) Also, she would talk less. You know, because she wouldn't need to talk much. At least not at home.


Today's lesson: Be careful what you ask for... Also, Social workers are Super already, even without superpowers. At least according to my Super smart boy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Breast is Best

Today's HAWMC prompt is to find a quote that inspires you (positively or negatively) and write about it for 15 minutes.

The saying "breast is best" is something that breastfeeding advocates worldwide have used as a tagline to encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies. It sounds great on the surface, because I'm pretty sure that the vast majority of us can agree that breastmilk is superior to formula. And most of us can also probably agree that getting that breastmilk directly from the breast is even better than getting it from a bottle.

It all seems like a no-brainer. But, here's the thing. When phrased in that way - "breast is best" - I think it doesn't communicate the most important breastfeeding message there is. And that is this. Breastfeeding is not just best. Breastfeeding is NORMAL. Somewhere along the way, at least here in the US, we have forgotten that. And the wording of "breast as best", I think, does nothing to renormalize the way that babies were intended by nature, by God, to be fed.

Now, let me be clear here, though I'm about as pro-breastfeeding as a girl can get, I'm not judging those who chose not to breastfeed their babies, or those who are truly unable to do so. However, I think that many who have chosen not to do so have made that choice based on false information. The errant belief, perpetuated by formula companies, and even uneducated medical professionals (hello, my own experience with an OBGYN!), who believe that formula is nearly just as good as breastmilk. Because, let's call a spade a spade here, it's just not. So, make whatever choice you believe will work for you, but do so with accurate information.

Today's lesson: When the plan is for the 2 children to both nap in the car at the same time, they won't. Because that would be too easy. Instead, they will both alternately scream and laugh hysterically. And then they will blessedly go to bed early that night. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Time Capsule

I've been thinking. If I were to fill a time capsule that won't be opened for 100 years with 10 items reflecting who I am today, what would it contain. I think about who I am, right now, right at this particular moment in time, and what I would want future generations of my family to know about me. These are a few of the things that come to mind...
  • First and foremost, a picture of my family. Me, the boys, hubby,  my mom, Jonah the furbaby. There are, of course, many other family members who are important in my life, but these 4 (well, 5, counting the dog), take the cake. I'd love to put in the scrapbooks, but that would mean the boys wouldn't have access to them, so that's out. Oh - I could scrapbook 1 page with the family pic on it!
  • Pictures of the boys' birth families, because I don't want their importance in my life - our lives - to ever be forgotten. I'd also include their full names (at least to the best of my knowledge) and the last know addresses we have for them. You know, so that my future great, great grandchildren can keep in touch with that part of their family as well. Hopefully it won't be necessary as there will already be a strong relationship there.
  • (And the rest of these are in no particular order) My Kleen Kanteen water bottle, because it's always with me. Luckily, I have two, so it wouldn't be a big sacrifice to lose one.
  • A book. Now, the problem is I can't decide which one. I have several favorites, but I'm not willing to part with any of those. However, I also don't want to put in a crappy one (that I wouldn't mind losing), because, well, then I'd look lame. So, I'll have to put some more thought into this one.
  • My Professional Social Worker lapel pin. Being a social worker is a big part of who I am at my core. But, frankly, I don't ever wear that pin. So it gets the point across, and at the same time doesn't necessitate me losing, say, my licensure certificate, which is kind of an important document to hang on to.
  • A link to my blog. Okay, so this sounds totally self-serving, but really, I'm pretty sure I won't care about how much traffic my by-then-totally-abandoned blog gets. You, know, since I'll be way dead by then and all. But really, this blog tells so much about me. About who I am. About my family, our lives. About our infertility, how life-changing it has been for me, for us.
  • A copy of Goodnight Moon. Or Dinosaur's Binket. Or both. The first was the kid's fav book when he was a little thing. And the 2nd, is baby E's right now. Reading to the boys, and instilling a love of books in them is very important to me.
  • A DVD of Sweet Home Alabama, because it's like my favorite movie ev-uh. Don't judge. And I'm not giving up my copy, mind you. I'll buy another to throw in there. Even though I'm sure that DVDs will be long defunct by then.
  • My favorite pair of flip flops. Because I hope no one ever forgets how awesome flip flops are. And these can only go in because, sadly, they're kind of dead and must be replaced. I'm mourning them. Although, they probably will stink to high heaven 100 years from now. But I can't bear to throw them away, so this seems like a really good compromise. Sorry future generations for the smell.
  • Lastly, I will include a wish that infertility will no longer be a disease that millions of people around the world suffer from every year. A wish that every woman who wants to be a momma will have her sweet baby in her arms. Without having to endure the pain, grief, and sadness that infertility brings.
What would you include in a time capsule?

Today's lesson: Apparently flip flops aren't made to last forever . Bunch 'o crap, flip flop manufacturers, bunch 'o crap.