Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blogging in Bullets

  • Apparently I fell off the HAWMC (and blogging in general) wagon. Not sure how that happened. It did. Oh well. Moving on.
  • This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. I'd planned to write and post something. Did not happen. Also moving on.
  • April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. And I'd planned to post some stuff about that. Also didn't happen. Also moving on.
  • I'm going to the zoo today with the kid's class. I'm riding the bus (2hrs there, 2 hrs back). I may go crazy. Check on me this evening. Bring and/or send alcohol.
  • I think it's just plain mean that the infertile girl gets raging period cramps AND seriously painful ovulation pains. WTF, universe.
  • We had to buy new carseats for baby E (1 for each car). That was expensive. The old ones expired (who the hell knew they did that?!) and he'd gotten too tall for mine, and the one in hubby's car was sooooooo gross.
  • Hubby's car is sooooo gross in general.
  • Apparently kids are supposed to rear-face in carseats until the weight limit on that seat (minimally to age 2, and preferably til closer to age 4). That means baby E has been turned back around rear-facing. He likes it. Hubby, not so much.
  • I had a super crabby day Monday. I went to the bank -by myself -, which is literally 2 blocks from my house. I was gone for an hour. When I finally returned, no one seemed to have noticed. Not sure how I feel about that. But my mood was much improved. Ice cream helps with that, you know. And sitting in the car in the park where it's quiet by. my.self.
  • Baby E keeps saying "call me maybe" and shrugging his shoulders when someone asks him a question. It's hilarious.
  • The kid is in a super sneaky stage. I have absolutely no idea how to address it. But lying and being sneaky are behaviors for which I have seriously low tolerance. Help. Please.
  • We've got a vacay to Hilton Head scheduled for July. So excited about this.
  • We can only go if my work doesn't eff me over and not give me the time off. Which seems like a likely possibility. This is related to the previously mentioned crappy mood.
  • I think it may be time for baby E to get a haircut. That makes me want to cry.
  • I think the kid may be sensitive to other food dyes (yellow 6 and/or blue 2) resulting in the same reactions he has with the red 40. ((deep sigh))
  • A 1st grade teacher (who has been teaching for 30+ years) should know that a 1st grader is a horrible conduit for successfully communicated messages between said teacher and the parents of said 1st grader.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes we all fall off the wagon. Then we pick ourselves up and try it again. Also, don't entrust a 1st grader with time-sensitive messages. Unless it's about a "surprise". Then they won't be able to keep that shit to themselves.

Monday, April 15, 2013

HAWMC Day 15: Swap Day

Today's prompt was to throw your name in the hat and be paired with another HAWMC participant. I post on her blog, she posts on mine.

So, I introduce you to Kirsten. She blogs over at Running for Autism. Kirsten blogs primarily about her role as a parent of a child with autism, about navigating that for him, for herself, and for her younger son (who does not have autism). She also runs. A lot. I should have her give me some tips on how to get on that (although it probably wouldn't help, to be honest). I particularly love this post she wrote, A Letter to Autism. Really, you should go read it. It's beautiful.

Kirsten was also adopted. And I'm super excited to have her share her perspective as an adoptee who (now) has an open relationship with her biological family. Without further ado, Kirsten...

“...and the baby girl went home with her new mommy and daddy and brother, and they all lived happily ever after.”

 “But Mommy,” I would say, in my small little-girl voice, “What about the baby girl’s first Mommy?”

“She was very sad,” my mother would reply softly, “But she knew that her baby girl was going to live with a family who loved her very much, and would always take care of her.”

I don’t know when my parents first told me that I was adopted. I was very young, so young that I do not remember a time when I did not know. There was no mystery about it, no taboo, nothing but complete acceptance and openness. The subject of adoption did not get any special treatment in my family – it was treated with the same frankness and occasional tactlessness as any other topic.

Like the time my brother said to me, during the course of a sibling rivalry incident, “MY birth father is a handsome prince who lives in a castle, and YOUR birth father escaped from prison and lives in a cave.” 
(Kirsten and her brother)
Or the time when I was about six, when I yelled at my mom, “My other mother has long black hair, and she’s prettier than YOU!” 

“I’m sure that’s true,” said my mom, with an expression that I now recognize as a desperate attempt to stifle a hoot of laughter. 

Because the fact of our adoption was never a big deal in our house, my brother and I never had any angst about it. We were adoptees in the same way that other people are tall or red-haired. It was just a fundamental part of who we were.  

There was, of course, some curiosity about who our birth parents had been. We were adopted in the late sixties and early seventies respectively, and back in those days the concept of “open adoption” hadn’t even been dreamed up. Birth parents and adoptive parents were not allowed any contact with each other. They couldn’t even know anything about each other. There was none of the picking and choosing that goes on today: the matching was done either by adoption agencies or by the child welfare society. 

And so I grew up with no knowledge whatsoever of who and where I had come from. I suspect that this bothered my mom more than it bothered me. I had speech and learning delays as a kid, and in the absence of a family medical history, I think my mom felt a bit at sea. 

I did ultimately meet both of my birth parents, over a decade ago now. There have been a few “aha” moments over the years, when I have recognized where I got some little mannerism or quirk. Meeting them has also, I think, been beneficial to my mom, who is now able to look back on my childhood challenges against the backdrop of my birth parents.  

Now that I am a mom, I am grateful for the fact that I have been able to build friendships with my birth parents. When my older son was born, I peppered both of them with questions about their medical history – questions that they gladly answered. I am in regular contact with them via email and Facebook. I send them pictures of my kids and share stories of my parenting adventures – or misadventures, depending on the day. 

People often ask whether meeting my birth parents affected my relationship with my mom and dad. I guess that, from the perspective of someone on the outside looking in, this is a valid question.  

The simple answer is that my mom and dad have been my mom and dad all my life, and nothing is going to change that. They are the ones who chased the monsters out from under my bed when I was a little girl. They put the Band-Aids on my scraped knees and made sure I did my homework.  They wiped my tears when I cried, reprimanded me when I was naughty, and celebrated with me when good stuff happened. They put me through school and then University, they advised me when it was time to get a job, and they helped me move when I got my first apartment.  
(Kirsten's mom and dad)
When my firstborn son came into the world, my mom and dad became grandparents. It was my mom I turned to for parenting advice, and my dad was the one I spoke to about future financial planning.  

My birth parents are friends who I happen to have a biological connection with. And they are good, true friends.  

My mom, my dad – may he rest in peace, and my brother: they are family. 

No power in the universe will ever change that.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Unexpected Sayings of Parenthood

Today, I need a bit of a break from HAWMC. So, instead, some humor.

Things I never could have imagined I'd say to my children:

Baby E, please stop snorting lime juice.

You have to finish watching that cartoon before I will read to you.

You can't eat just asparagus for dinner.

If you eat the head of one more bunny, I will throw all the bunnies into the garbage.

Give me all your money. Every single bit of it.

No one wants to see butt cheeks at the dinner table, E.

Today's Lesson: Parenting provides daily lessons. We sometimes don't know what they are, of course, but they're there...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

HAWMC Day 13: Acrostic

Today's prompt is to write an acrostic (should you need to look up what the heck that is, as I did) about my condition. I wrote two, inexplicably. I am not a poet. Not that you will need that disclaimer in moment. It will become painfully clear in 3-2-1...


Babies (used to torment me,)
Especially (those not mine.)
Continued (my desires abide.)
Kibitzers (please, keep your opinions to)

Today's Lesson: I much prefer a Haiku to an Acrostic. Which is a surprise to me. Also, I we should all try to learn a new word every day. Kibitzer is mine. And, perhaps, now yours.

Friday, April 12, 2013

HAWMC Day 12: Hindsight (or just Insight)

Today's prompt is to discuss what has surprised me the most about parenting. Actually, that's not really what the prompt said (it actually asked what I've learned most about being a patient that has surprised me), but that's the interpretation I'm going with and what I'm going to talk about.

When the kid was little (5 and under), I parented intentionally. I have a lot of knowledge and experience with kids in that age range. I know what to expect developmentally and behaviorally. I know lots of parenting strategies that work well.

I knew just how I wanted to mother him, and, because I was so confident and had the experience, knowledge, and reasoning to back it up, hubby was fully on board with that. We generally were in agreement about things as they related to the kid.

Of course, just because I had a plan, that didn't mean everything always went according to that plan, or, honestly, that the plan was the best one. I screwed up. Regularly. But, for the most part, there was a plan on how to proceed, even following screw ups. And I'm a girl who likes a plan. A lot.

I've recently admitted to myself that I am no longer parenting intentionally. And it probably has something to do with why the kid's behavior has been kind of spiraling out of control over the last several month (hell, the last 2 years). In addition to all the changes in his life (baby E, school to start), I've kind of dropped the ball. And, because I have less direction and there is no more plan, hubby has followed suit.

This all has ended up meaning we're doing this [parenting the kid] by the seat of our pants. We're inconsistent. Not only are hubby and I on different pages from each other, we're of different pages  ourselves from day to day (heck, sometimes, minute to minute). We're more easily frustrated because we don't know what the hell we're doing. And, heaven knows, the kid is more frustrated and out of control because he has no idea what to expect from us, or what is expected of him.

And it's simply not okay. It's not fair to the kid. It's got to be confusing and frustrating as can be for him to not know what to expect from us. To not know what we expect from him.

Because, the truth is, I don't know. I don't know what I expect from him. I mean, sure, I expect him to be well-behaved. But I'm not sure that developmentally I even know exactly what that should be. Which is why we're all over the place in our expectations of him. Because we - in truth - have no idea what we're doing right now.

My poor kid has some crappy, inconsistent parents right now. I don't like the parenting he's getting. At all. Seriously, I feel really bad for him.

We need to do better. He needs us to do better. We have to do better. Now.

Back to the (self-appointed) topic. What have I found surprising about parenting? Well, so many things. But, recently, I've been surprised how what I thought was so natural for me (parenting) was really just those first 5yrs, the age group I was already comfortable with/knowledgeable about. I think I assumed it would continue to come naturally to me. I neglected to realize that it was something I needed to continue to learn and work at.

Today's Lesson: There is always more to learn. Always. And, when you stop learning, well, things don't go so well.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

HAWMC: Day 11, Favorites

Today's prompt is to write about my favorite social network. This is a tricky one for me. Uh, actually, it's not a particularly interesting one for me. But, being me, and not able to let it go, I feel the need to write about it anyway. So, feel free to skip this post. Really, I would.

I love me some Pin.terest. I love all the craft ideas it brings me. Though heaven knows when I'll have time (or talent!) to do even 5% of those crafts. All the recipes are fun. Though it's certainly ironic that I pin so many seeing as how hubby does the majority of the cooking in our house. And since he, um, kinda has a hard time following recipes. My main issue with Pin.terest is that I do believe it, in some ways, gives us mamas another way to feel guilty. At least for me - it's often a reminder of all the things I'm not (you know, crafty, a great cook, super organized, a fabulous house keeper, etc...). And yet, I still love it. is another site I'm totally addicted to. It's a total time suck most days. But, it's also introduced me to people I'd never have met otherwise (who I'm glad to know and have made my life better for knowing them). Because of FB, I have been able to give baby E breastmilk for over 2 years. That alone makes FB priceless to me.

Uh, yeah. That's all I got, people.

Today's Lesson: Everything you say, or write, doesn't have to be perfect. Or life changing. Or even good. Sometimes done is better than perfect.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

HAWMC: Day 10, Wordless Wednesday

Today's prompt is to post a favorite picture of myself. This is one I love. The pic was taken at our local World Breastfeeding Challenge in 2010 when baby E was just a few days old. I think this may have been my first solo outing with him. It was the first time (and one of only a handful still) where I nursed my baby while other mama's nursed theirs. I was the only one who had to use the SNS. But it was okay. Because there was nothing in the world I'd wanted more than to have this baby and to breastfeed him. And we were doing it.
And we're still doing it.
Today's Lesson: I hate that plastic contraption. Yet I love it, too. Without it, well, nursing simply wouldn't have happened for me and my boys. While at times I label the SNS a "necessary evil", it really is much more than that. I wish I didn't need it. But I do. And so, for that, I am eternally grateful for its existence.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HAWMC Day 9 - Caregiving

Today's prompt is to give advice or tips for caregivers. Here's my take on that.

April is also Child Abuse Prevention Month. If you've been around for any amount of time, you probably know this is an issue I'm also passionate about. Here are a few of the posts I've written previously that address the topic: Breaking Point (a post about when the light went on for me about how "those people" can hurt their babies), 1 in 3 (my rant about the rape culture we live in), Explain it to me (discussing corporal punishment), and Senseless Violence Daily (a post just after the Newtown shooting, expressing the violence I see daily). These posts all, in addition to being a bit ranty on my part, also offer ideas of what you can do to prevent abuse and violence.

Also, here's another great resource that lists tons of things we can all do (as parents, as professionals who interact with children and families, and as agencies who provide services to children and families). Actually, they've got at least 90 different things we can do. I'm pretty sure that we can all find at least a few things to do this month (um, and onward) to support and protect children and families.

And that's my challenge to you this week - do something you don't normally do, something that perhaps is a bit out of your comfort zone, or just something you've been thinking about doing, but haven't for whatever reason, that will better the lives of children and families. That can be your children, children of someone you know, or unknown children. And I'll share with you later this month what I've decided to do (and hopefully been doing!!) to work to end child abuse on my end.

Today's Lesson: Child abuse is rampant in our society. It happens at all income levels, all educational levels, all parts of the country, all cultural subsections, all ages of children, all ages of caregivers, perpetrated by parents, by grandparents, by other relatives, and by non-related caregivers, at home, in public, in childcare centers. It manifests *as bruises, as bone fractures, as burns, as broken hearts, as broken spirits, as learning disabilities, as failure to gain weight appropriately, as failure to meet developmental milestones, and anger, as lashing out, as withdrawal into oneself, as eating disorders, as substance use.

Every time we turn a blind eye because it is uncomfortable to intervene in some way, we, too, have participated in the abuse of a child. Perhaps, in some ways, we are even more responsible, because we knew it was unacceptable, yet we chose to allow it to continue.

I believe with my whole heart that we are all responsible for ending abuse. And that we have the power and resources to do our part. The beauty of it is that none of us has to do it all. But we each have to do something. Tell me, what is your something?

*Please note, of course I'm not saying that abuse and neglect are always responsible for these things!

Monday, April 8, 2013

HAWMC: Day 8, Spring

I thought I'd pre-written a post for today. Apparently not so much. We were out of town the last several days a mini-Spring Break trip - me, hubby, the boys, and my mama to one of our awesome state parks. The weather finally turned spring-like, which meant lots of time outside and sunshine both of which did wonders for my mood.

Today's prompt is something like "if your condition were an animal, what would it be?". While we were in the woods, baby E kept talking about seeing an "orange baby bear". And though I can assure you we saw no baby bears of any color, we did see lots of chipmunks. Have I ever told you how absolutely terrified the kid was of chipmunks when he was 2-3yrs? That kid never seems to be scared of anything, so the fact that he would run screeching in terror to an adult (any adult) whenever he'd see one makes it even the funnier.

At any rate, I got nothin' for this prompt. So, instead, you get some cute pics I stole from my mama of our trip. You're welcome.
Our first hike of the season. I gotta tell you, either I am even more out of shape than I realized or baby E is getting heavy and is going to have to start using his own legs to hike. Possibly both.

Brother love. I mean, really, is there anything cuter than the adoration in E's face here?

Who can resist an awesome climbing tree?! Not my boys for sure.

Last year, at this very same pool, E screamed when I even got near the pool This year, we couldn't keep him out of it. What a difference a year makes. Also, perhaps it maybe time for a haircut... (but anyone who tells my husband I said that will be banned!!!!)
The boys doing "the Sprinkler" dance. I have no idea who taught the kid this one, but he, in turn, taught baby E. It cracks me up to see them do it!

Relaxing. That's what the (majority of) the trip was. Just what we all needed!
Today's Lesson: When on vacation, if you want to sleep, you should get separate bedrooms for each of the children. Assuming that one can sleep in the room with you, particularly when that one is a crappy sleeper, well, it's just not a recipe for you to get any sleep. Excuse me while I go take a nap.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

HAWMC: Day 7, Sensationalize

Today's prompt is to talk about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard about my condition. And, since I find myself needing a bit of a break when it comes to infertility, I'm going a different direction today. Welcome to "The Stupid Things People Feel the Need to Tell Me About Breastfeeding".
  • That baby obviously isn't getting enough because s/he's_______ (fill in the blank with any number of options: like eating every hour, not sleeping at night, not where s/he should be on the CDC growth chart, etc...). - the best way to know if any baby is getting enough is to pay attention to the baby. Is baby having frequent wet diapers? Poopy diapers after the first few days aren't a good indicator because it's normal for even bf babies to go a day or several in between bowel movements. Is baby continuing to hit developmental milestones? Is baby continuing to gain weight? Yes, even if s/he drops % on the CDC growth chart (see this blog post for more info about that). The WHO growth chart is much more appropriate and accurate for bf babies.
  • My pediatrician said ______ about bf - Usually the statement(s) made by pediatricians about bf are inaccurate. Friends, MD's - for the most part - don't know squat about breastfeeding. Like, nothing. So, if there is ANY kind of bf issue, get thee to a certified lactation consultant. Please.
  • You have to eat a perfect diet to breastfeed - Honestly, this blog post responds to that stupidity better than I could. But also there's this from Dr Jack Newman (the bf guru who is an MD who knows a helluva lot about breastfeeding):
    • "Studies also show that mothers who are malnourished still produce adequate milk and it shows once again that if the Weston Price Foundation says any formula, even homemade made from raw milk, is better than the milk of a mother whose diet is anything but what they think is ideal, they also don't know what they are talking about.
      I should add that even if any formula were as good as breastmilk (impossible), breastfeeding is so much more than breastmilk and the special, intimate relationship of breastfeeding cannot be duplicated even by the "best" formula fed in a bottle."
  • After a year, there are no benefits to breastfeeding for a child - Oh really? Like, when my child turns exactly 365 days old, magically breastmilk changes drastically and is just crap? I mean, how does that even make any sense? At 364 days of age, or 345 days of age his needs are so drastically different than they are when he's 366 days of age, or 395 days of age? Of course not. The real magic about breastmilk is that it changes based on a child's age. It provides each child with what that child needs at that age. That, my friends, is actual magic. Whether the child is 2 weeks or two years old. Also, the WHO recommends breastfeeding for a minimum of 2 years, with as long after as is mutually desired. None of this, "a year then cut that kid off" business. Hhere's a post I previously wrote about weaning baby E that also discusses this.
  • You should stop breastfeeding when your baby starts to walk - no one can tell me the "why?" behind this nonsense. Though they tend to say it in a "If your kid can walk, they're obviously too big to be on the tit" kind of rude way that really irritates me. I mean, the kid started walking when he was right at a year old (a week after his 1st birthday, I believe). So I can see, based on the assumption that one should stop nursing at a year, how one might assume this (though, of course, I refer you to the point above). However, baby E was walking at 9 months, and no one recommends stopping nursing that early. So, again, this makes no sense whatsoever.
  • You should stop breastfeeding when your baby gets teeth - So, I get why mamas may want to stop nursing when their nursling gets teeth. A nursling's latch can sometimes get all funky when they're teething, which can admittedly be uncomfortable (in my experience, this is brief). Some other nurslings can bite, which, I'll be totally honest, hurts like a sonofabitch. The kid was a biter. And holyjesus did it hurt. There was cussing involved. A lot of cussing. Unfortunately, I didn't know what to do when he bit and was afraid that stage would never end. It's the biggest reason we stopped nursing (which I still, 6.5yrs later, regret). Baby E, however, was not/is not a biter. Seems like once or twice he started to bite down. I firmly told him "we don't bite" and briefly interrupted the nursing session. That worked for us. At any rate, the kid got teeth when he was about 3.5mon old. Baby E when he was about 9mon. Having teeth isn't a good reason to stop nursing either.
  • Also, don't get me started on all the stupid things people have said about nursing in public, and being "discrete", "modest", and "covering up". Just ugh. If my baby needs to be fed, I will feed him. I will not put a blanket over his head just to make you more comfortable. I will also not strip my whole shirt off, because that makes me uncomfortable. But, should another mama choose to do that, well, it is a safe assumption that it has nothing to do with you. So, if it makes you uncomfortable, don't look. (Though, to be honest, I have never, in my 34 years, seen a mother be anything other than "discrete". Most of the time, no one even knows she's nursing.)

Today's Lesson - I am saddened by how little we, as a society, know about breastfeeding. Somewhere amid the last few generations, we have lost so much of what we used to know. How rare it is anymore to see anyone breastfeeding outside of her home. How can we expect to know how to nurse without seeing others do it? For the most part, that is how we all learn best. Also, how can we expect others to not freak out and consider it a se.xual act when those of us who are nursing feel like we can only do it in the privacy of our own homes? Breastfeeding will again become the norm, simply stated, when we make it so.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

HAWMC: Day 6, a Letter to IF

Today's prompt is to write a letter to your future self, either asking a question or reminding of a lesson you don't want to forget. I though and thought on this but really couldn't come up with anything substantial.

So, the alternate prompt is to write a letter to your condition. And then I realized that I did this when I (half-assed) participated in NHBPM in November. And, because I'm kind of lame sometimes, I decided to repost that letter today. Because, really, it still says what I'd like to say to IF. You know, if we were face-to-face.

Dear Infertility,
My initial thought is to just tell you "you suck" and "I hate you" and leave it at that. Since, you know, those things are true. So, so very true. I mean, you suck in oh, so many ways. I could go into a whole "let me count the ways" kind of rant. And it would be long. But I'll abstain. Because, well, that would just piss me off further.

And, really, I do have something more important to say to you.

Infertility, I am daily reminded that without you, I wouldn't have my boys. I hate you a lot (and I do mean a lot), but I have my kid and my baby E because of you. You serve as a reminder to me to try to see the possibilities that arise from the heartache. You remind me that good things come from the bad. That there are always opportunities for healing.

Now, I will never go so far as to thank you for, well, being you, and well, attaching yourself to me. But I can acknowledge a gratefulness. Because you are a tangible reminder to me that out of the pain can come good, once we are in a place to see and accept it. And when we are able to make some sort of peace with the crap we're thrown, we make room for good to come in.

And, for that, Infertility, I have to give you a little bit less hate.

That's the best I can do. Today at least.

The Infertile Social Worker come Momma

Today's Lesson: I believe we are presented with opportunities to learn lessons throughout our lives. Not to say that bad things happen to teach us a lesson, mind you. But that things happen, and things can be learned from those. God speaks in whispers, getting progressively louder, sometimes yelling at us to learn the damn lesson already.

Infertility, for me, was certainly a yelling. And, lord knows, it was a lesson it took me a long time to hear. But it's now a lesson I've learned. From the bad, the awful, the horrible things that happen to us, we can learn something. And, I don't know about you, but it gives me some peace. To know that something good can, will come of it all.

Friday, April 5, 2013

HAWMC - Day 5, Aspiration

Today's prompt is to write what my one, three, or five year plan is for my health activism. Now, I gotta say, this one made me laugh in an "oh, isn't that ironic" kind of way. You see, there was a time in my life (and, if I'm honest here, the majority of my life thus far) when I knew exactly where I was going. I had a plan, or, to be more accurate, lots of plans. There was no doubt that all those plans would come to fruition just like I, well, planned them to. Which is kinda funny considering how all that turned out and all.

Life stepped in and showed me how little control I have over it all. Infertility showed up. And sucked. Jobs didn't work out like I'd hoped. Kids (blessedly) came along, but changed me in ways I didn't expect.

All of that has taught me (among other things), that though it's good to have plans and goals, it's also necessary to be flexible about them. My life is much smoother and I'm much happier when I don't clench those goals so tightly. Because, sometimes, better things than what I can imagine are attainable. But only if I take my eyes off my plan long enough to see them.

So, what are my goals (related to health activism)? Hell, I don't really know. I have this nebulous idea that someday I'd love to be a parenting educator/home visitor for (as my friend JE says) yuppies. This would involve lots of breastfeeding support and advocacy. Lots of education about child abuse and neglect (to hopefully prevent it!). Lots of recognizing and treating of pre and postnatal mental health issues. Lots of loving on new babies and parents. With lots of advocacy for new parents and babies woven throughout. Those are things I'm good at.

That would all involve getting the highest level of professional licensure available. And, ugh, that's kind of a PITA to do. I can't do it in my current job and, really, the thought of finding another job (this is # 5 since I graduated from undergrad 13yrs ago), well, it just about sends me over the edge.

So, until I figure out a more specific plan on how to get there, I'm keeping my eyes open for the everyday opportunities to advocate for my kids, for others' kids, and for parents. Because that's what I love to do.

Today's Lesson: There is freedom in sometimes admitting that you don't have to have a plan for everything. There is freedom in sometimes recognizing that it is okay to just ride the waves for awhile without knowing exactly where you're going. There is freedom in sometimes letting the plans make themselves known to you, instead of the other way around. There is freedom in sometimes sitting and waiting. There are some lessons I wish I'd learned years ago.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

HAWMC: Day 4, Resources

Today's Prompt is to "share resources". Thus, today, you get a (very) short list of my recommendations for places to start if you have questions about infertility.
  • RESOLVE - Aka "The National Infertility Association" is a great resource for information (factual), research, formal support avenues, and advocacy ideas.
  • The Stirrup Queen -Mel, the owner of the blog, has this amazing list of blogs written by people (mostly women) who are experiencing/have experienced IF. Seriously, there are hundreds of them, ranging in focus from specific disorders that have led to IF, to specific IF treatments, from those in the IF trenches, to those who have moved past treatments, from those who are parenting, to those who have chosen to live their lives child-free. Really, there's a blog there (or 20) for everyone.
  • This Blog post - because I just happened to come across it this week. And I love it.
Yup, that's my list. I get that it's short. But, each of the first two sites have huge lists of resources and support. I'd love to know your favorite IF resources, so, do share!

Today's Lesson: We should all celebrate the small victories in our lives. For instance, let's say your tantruming toddler is flailing about while you're trying to take his naked self to get his pajamas on, but all he wants to do is "COLOR COLOR NOW!!!!", causing a heavy stool to fall over and possibly fracture your big toe. So, when that happens, and you not only don't yell, but don't even cuss at all, that is a victory to be celebrated.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

HAWMC: Day 3

Wordless Wednesday - a picture that describes my "Condition"

The funny thing about infertility, is there is no picture that describes it at any given moment. There's no way to know if someone is "infertile" just by looking at her (or him). And there is no one way to be infertile.
This picture describes where I am right now with infertility. I have my two sons, who I love. They challenge me as a parent, as a person, daily. They're the best. And today, my family triumphs over IF. Today, I triumph over IF.

Today's Lesson: Sometimes we all triumph over our pain. It doesn't mean the pain is gone. But it does mean it isn't in charge. Celebrate the triumph.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

HAWMC: Day 2

Today's prompt is "Introductions". I am instructed to introduce my "condition" to other bloggers or share links of some of my old posts that will help the "newly diagnosed". Um, so I don't exactly have one specific condition I'm focusing on here. So, here's what I decided to do. I'm going to give you a few links that cover some of the health issues I discuss here, particularly some of those that seem to bring people here most often.

  1. Inducing Lactation - I get lots of questions about how I induced lactation. Here's the post that explains it. 
  2. Red Dye-Free Antibiotics - we realized early on that red dye40 (just 40, Red 5 is fine for some reason) and the kid don't mix well together.  And, both personally and professionally, I've realized the huge impact it can have on a child's behavior. Now, though I've never seen/paid attention to adults, I'd suspect it can affect them as well (well, those who are sensitive to it, surely everyone doesn't outgrow that).
  3. Donor Breast Milk - Unless you're new around here, you're well aware that baby E has been fed with donor breast milk since he was about 3 months old. Here's the first post I did "coming out" about using donor milk, and explaining our reasons for making that choice. I'm still so thankful to the milk mommies who still give this special gift to baby E.
  4. Infertility - Seems like I ought to include a post about IF. I mean, there are so many to choose from, how do I choose just one? Randomly, that's how that happened. So feel free to read this one, or any of the others.
And, that's all I've got for today. Happy Tuesday, friends. More tomorrow.

Today's Lesson: In order to find these posts, I found myself reading over the last few years since I started this blog. It's interesting to see what's changed. And what hasn't. Sometimes we all need reminders of where we've been, to be able to more fully acknowledge where we now are.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Health Activist Writer's Month 2013: Day 1

Last April, I participated in The Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. I managed to post daily that time. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess I won't be as successful this year, but I'll give it a shot.

So, why am I doing this? Well, though I am probably not the typical health activist (someone who tends to have one primary focus, i.e. a specific disease/diagnosis), I believe that a lot of the things I blog about are health issues - breastfeeding, infertility, adoption, child abuse/violence to name a few. And sometimes it's helpful to have a more structured way for me to focus on these issues and write about them. Also, lately I just need some help coming up with things to blog about.  So, we're gonna give this a go and, well, see how it goes.

So, yeah. That's all I've got for today. Really, you're going to (hopefully) be hearing a lot from me this month so I don't want to burn you out too soon.

Today's Lesson: There may be a "right way" for you. But there is no one right way, one-size fits all for everyone. The sooner you come to terms with this, the sooner your stress level will go down. Just sayin'.