Tag Archives: mother

Taking the “er” out of Mother……

I know taking the “er” out of mother would simply leave us as “moth”s.

But maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.

Moths don’t care what their hair looks like, when their children start reading, or what size anyone’s jeans are.

Gray doesn’t mean they are older. It just means, well, they are gray.

Moths don’t need earrings that match a purse that matches their eyes. They don’t have to clip coupons (although that might be fun to watch). Moths don’t have to potty train their little moths so that they won’t embarrass them at the playground.

Moths are just, in every moment, moths.

They spend most of their time searching for bright, shiny light that has all the promise of warmth. And there’s lots of room around those lights for everyone to squish in and warm themselves. Those moths shy away from dark, lonely places.

It’s when we add in the “er” that comparisons ensue. We become mothers and comparers.

She is prettier.

Oh look, she is skinnier.

Her house is bigger.

Oh dear, her child is faster.

And her son is reading earlier.

She might just be better than me. Eeeeks.

Wait just one minute…

She is fatter. And my child is taller. Whew.

I recently read this fabulouso article by April Perry on a website called the Power of Moms (what a wonderful use of “er“) that details how social media isn’t helping mothers one bit. We spend too much time online mourning over who we are not.

We see meals on Pinterest that we could never actually make, party themes that would require an entire film crew to pull off, and others who are supposedly doing it better.

Facebookers share with us trips that we could not/did not go on and college scholarships our children won’t get.

Twitter takes clever to a whole new level. There is tremendous stress in trying to figure out how to be witty or impart wisdom in 140 characters or fewer, especially when emoticons are frowned upon as a wasted use of space.

All the while, our little moths sit and wait for us to stop clicking on keyboards and return to being just who they want us to be. Their mothers.

And if you have evidence that moths actually eat their young at birth, please don’t confuse the beauty of this symbolism with science. I am not trying to be smarter, just less “er“. And that cute little moth made me smile. 😎

Just in case you didn’t get enough of my “er”ism here – I wrote this post a while back. A small warning – I was snarkier then. 😉

Digging Deeper…………

When I began writing this blog, I guess hoped it would challenge me as a writer but I never imagined that it would challenge me as a thinker. I just looked at it as a way to journal our experience, share it with friends, and remember the details we might otherwise forget. But, recently I wrote a post about my c-section experiences and I got a lot of feedback. Most of it was positive but a couple responses were pretty angry.

I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I do see that many women feel traumatized by this surgery; however, I still do not understand why women are devastated by experiencing a cesarean birth. I am a “by any means necessary” kind of mom. Just get that baby safely here. And if you can do it quickly, even better. I hear that some women feel cheated because they believe doctors rush to do a c-section to avoid malpractice lawsuits. I have to say wait a minute on that one – malpractice lawsuits happen when something goes wrong – so if the doctor is trying to avoid a malpractice lawsuit, I fail to see why that is a bad thing.

But reading the responses made me want to dig deeper and uncover why I am so unscathed by my experiences. This what I came up with.

When we decided we were ready to be parents, my husband was excited – that means we get to try – a lot. I had other plans – sorry dear. I wanted a boy first – I have an older brother and he is my good luck charm. So I hoped if I ever had a girl, she would have an older brother. So, there is timing involved. My husband swore if we got pregnant the first month, I would be a single parent.

Me: Ooops. Count your blessings honey. Some people try for years.
Number One Hubby: Hmpf.

I had an easy pregnancy with Bear – but his birth – well that was a little more exciting. You can read here about how all three of my children were born in emergency situations. Yes, that surely tainted my judgment and fostered a lack of resentment. As I said, by any means necessary.

That first year went well. So, we started talking about adding to our family.

Hubby: Do we get to practice more this time?
Me:  I’d like a girl this time. There is timing involved, you know.
Hubby: I’ll take that as a no.
Me: Well, we’ll see – I’d like to just try the first month.
Hubby: Remind me again how do you feel about single parenting.

We got very lucky again. Flower was born 23 months after Bear.

Then a year later, we thought about starting to talk again.

Me: I am pregnant
Hubby: What? How did that happen?
Me:  (Looking at Flower and Bear)
Hubby: Yeah, I know that. But, does that mean we don’t even get to pretend like we are going to practice?
Doctor: Something is not right.

Baby Doe never made it completely into our family. I don’t know if Baby Doe was a boy or girl. S/he wasn’t with us long enough to get a name, just a place in our hearts. Baby Doe did not make it very far. We lost Baby Doe early. The first sonogram showed that our baby was measuring too small and there was not a heartbeat. Let’s wait about 10 days and see what happens. Maybe you aren’t as far along as you think you are.

Hmmmmmm. 10 days as in 240 hours as in 14,400 minutes as in, literally, a lifetime. Baby Doe’s lifetime.

My HCG levels were rising at encouraging levels. That got me through 10 very long days. But the second sonogram showed no growth, no heartbeat. My body, not realizing what was not happening, did absolutely nothing. So, I was scheduled for a DNC.

It is hard to capture those feelings. Not everyone knew I was pregnant – although I am glad I had told my family and close friends. Otherwise the loss would have been a silent one.

The people who were most concerned about our loss were people who had experienced the same loss themselves. I do feel it much more deeply for others now too. Miscarriages seem so unattended. So nameless and faceless and lonely. Solitary.

It’s not that often that I think of our miscarriage – remember I try to focus on the gifts not the disappointments – although writing about our experience made me shiver a little. There is certainly an emptiness in the experience. Writing about it takes me to the softness in my heart where sadness echoes memories that were never meant to be.  I think I was lucky that I was able to grieve our loss when it happened. So many women fight the sadness and move on a little too quickly. I did not have a choice. It was overwhelming and empty. Grief came to me in the quiet moments I was alone and allowed myself to think of what was not to be.

We never knew what exactly happened – just that something must have been very, very wrong.

We were told to wait a few months before trying again. Physically and Emotionally. Not me. Thank you. We started trying soon after. Hubby didn’t even ask about practicing. It was not as fun this time.

Six months with no luck and we decided we should count our blessings. Two children – one boy, one girl. We are very lucky. We can stop here.

Hubby scheduled an appointment for a vasectomy and was on his way to it when another doctor called him. He needed to go to his parents’ house immediately. His father was not doing well.

That following week my father-in-law passed away from a long, hard-fought battle with lung cancer. We had his funeral on a Wednesday and on the following Friday was Flower’s second birthday. I felt funny. Exhausted. Not really that hungry. Pregnant. But we had a lot to do and Hubby was just overwhelmed. I decided to wait until after the party to share the news.

My mother-in-law graciously asked us to continue with Flower’s party. She thought it would be nice to have something happy to do. She was right. It was lovely and a very nice diversion. Toward the end of the party, I heard hubby declaring our intent to be a two-child family. He laughed and joked. But his bottom line – “we are done.”

After everyone left, I asked him to sit down.

Me: We aren’t exactly done.
Hubby: Huh? Again with the no practicing?
Me: Apparently.

The first sonogram did not go well. We had to wait 10 days again. Luckily this time it was not a lifetime. Although it felt like one.

The second sonogram went great. The message typed on the screen was “send pizza”. Does that mean you see a heartbeat? Yes.

Some of my tests showed abnormal results and I ended up having an amnio. Everything tested fine and we knew for sure we were being blessed with another daughter. But something about a miscarriage can leave you questioning your entire pregnancy. What will happen this time? Will she be okay? We have all heard too many stories.

So, when I was in a car accident the day Angel was born and I heard very scary words in triage, I still was very unsure I would get to meet her. Hold her. Luckily for me and her, we both came out of surgery just fine. Three weeks early. Her little gift to me. Thanks honey!

I feel so blessed that my children are with me. That we survived pregnancy together. So, when I hear someone lament their c-section story, I don’t share their loss – even if we share similar scars. My scar is a physical reminder that I am blessed – it is a badge of honor. Some scars I guess are more emotional. And I understand they might not ever heal. I have sympathy for that sense of loss but, clearly, perspectives are different. I am not sure why they are unable to simply soak in the gift they have been given. Just look at their child and see that great fortune was delivered right into their arms via their heart – by any means necessary.  As  for me, I plan to continuing appreciating what is and forgive whatever was not.

I am not joining the pity party…….

As I have had more time on my hands lately, I have been reading (a lot) of blogs. I have found this network of women who are lamenting over the fact that they had to have cesarean sections to give birth to their children. They drew me in and I read several of them. But I had a hard time making a connection.

I really, truly appreciate the fact that many women want to fully experience childbirth a la natural. Me, well, I am more of a bring on the drugs kind of person. Epidural – yes, please. C-section – if you insist.

However, I, too, was all set to deliver my babies the old fashioned way – well with the benefit of modern pharmaceuticals and a building and doctors – no woods, no medicine men for me. Thanks anyway. Number one hubby and I checked the box and attended a Lamaze class – watched the video – and realized that we had absolutely no idea what we had gotten ourselves me into. I have to do what? And you get to sit there and tell me how to breathe? I am quite sure that is (not) going to prove to be very helpful.

Our Lamaze instructor was very excited about all things birth. However, being so close to the actual event myself (coupled with the fact that I was the one actually responsible for accomplishing it), I found it hard to share her enthusiasm. So, when she got to the part on c-sections, I remember turning to Number One Hubby and asking if he wanted to go get some lunch. Enough already. There are truly only so many home videos an about-to-be-mom can watch.

I think I can quote that instructor exactly, “I want everyone here to pay v.e.r.y. close attention to this part of the class. No one here thinks they will have a c-section, but I can guarantee you that at least one person in this room will deliver by c-section. You will want to know what’s happening.”

Me to Hubby: Oh, that’s really too bad. I wonder
which one of THOSE women it will be.
Hubby: Yeah.
Fate: You my sista.

I spent several days in and out of the hospital in the days before Bear was born. I won’t bore you with the details – we all have a story – but the bottom line was the doctors think I was passing a kidney stone. Yes, that was a great idea. Welcome to my little corner of brilliance. Give birth – pass a kidney stone – oh heck, let’s just do both – at the same time – sure. But in a way it was lucky, because in searching for the stone, they found my amniotic fluid was low and that my little Bear was breech. They scheduled me for a c-section a few days later. Seems they were very busy on that particular day and could not do it right away. But didn’t you say my amniotic fluid was low? Whatever. At least I thought I would have time to review the tape. That Lamaze lady was right, maybe I should have paid attention. Oh, you meant me?

I thought I had time to review those tapes until my water broke and we found ourselves in an emergency c-section situation. And, by ourselves, I do mean myself. Oh yes, doesn’t that sound a lot better? My husband was conducting a science experiment to determine exactly what type of fluid was gushing out of me at record speeds, while I was busy doing my best to convince him that we needed to go back to the hospital. Immediately. As in Right. Now. It was the stuff that sitcoms are made of. It seems he was tired and he really just wanted to sit down. Seriously? Let’s leave the alkaline test to the professionals. You know – the brilliant ones who just sent us home.

Needless to say, I had surgery. I recovered from surgery and got pregnant again. I ended up with 3 sections. All three of them emergencies. You’ve now read about Bear. Flower was also breech. I had a granola doctor who wanted to try to flip her for me – but I read about it and decided it wasn’t so much for me. They do it in the operating room in case you go into labor or stress (translation – something goes wrong or worse, very wrong) – it was only about 50% likely to work – and they expect the mom (and I am guessing her little bundle of baby) to get pretty bruised and therefore to be pretty uncomfortable – yes, with labor looming. No thank you. I survived one c-section just fine. Bring on number two. Flower’s birth became an emergency because apparently slipping on the ice late in pregnancy can bring on labor and my water broke again. There is just no rest for the clumsy.

Angel – well, it seems they don’t want you to even consider a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean – if there are any men still reading at this point -sorry) after two c-sections. But just to keep it interesting, I was in a car accident the day Angel was born and learned what decelerated heart rate means in triage. I can assure you that labor and deliver triage is neither the time nor the place to review SAT vocabulary words like decelerated heart rate or STAT.

Because my water broke twice, I had the initial experience of being in labor. Yeah, it is not all it’s cracked up to be. Going into labor gives me the thrill of shaking like a meth addict in rehab. It ain’t pretty. The first time it happened, I was terrified that the anesthesiologist would not be able to get the needle in the right spot. And, YES, I had read all those articles about the potential for paralysis with a misplaced epidural. (note to self – step away from the internet.) The doctor said as long as he wasn’t shaking we were fine. Oh good, I got a comedian. Thankfully a very steady comedian. I can still walk.

The bottom line in all of this is that c-sections are not perfect. But I am very thankful modern science has brought them into existence. If you have ever had a c-section or are facing one soon – even if, my friend, it was something you chose to do – please do not feel short changed. It is one of your first journeys into parenthood and it foreshadows what the rest of your parenting journey will be like – at times scary, at times rushed, at times overwhelming, at times disappointing, and at times rewarding beyond measure. When they put that little baby in your arms, it will not matter one bit how he or she got there. You’ll be just as overwhelmed as any other new parent – with love and joy and a whole new sense of responsibility.

I think it might be the loss of control that is so hard to forget and forgive. And the fear that follows it. Not knowing what will happen next can be extremely overwhelming, especially when a life seems to hang in the balance. But again, that is just one pebble in this parenting path. A pebble that will forever hide in the corner of our shoe as a constant, irritating reminder that we do not control the cosmos. Sometimes we have to walk uncomfortable journeys to get to our destination.

The tears really worth shedding are for those men and women who never get to hold a child they love in their arms.

NOTE: after writing this post, I received a lot of comments via email and on the blog – as a result, I followed up with a post called “Digging Deeper”

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am…….

If you think you have been serving out your term as the reigning Meanest Parent on the Planet to the fullest, I am so sorry to inform you that you have just been dethroned. Move over. Thank. You. Very. Much. I am now officially The Meanest Mother on the Planet and am frankly vying for the Mrs. Universe title. The Cruelest in the Universe. That’s me. I am pulling out all the stops. Watch out cosmos.

My child informed me recently that I am in fact the Meanest Mom Ever – that is quite an accomplishment – and thank you my dear. I know well that there is a lot of skilled competition out there.

FYI sweet cheeks, you are only 7, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

I did not even try to tell her that my job is to keep her safe and healthy – happy is up to her – and that I will continue to do my job to the best of my abilities until she has her own children and I can pass on the crown – to her.

No more -ER………….

I am going to distract myself from making quite possibly the biggest decision I have ever made and vent a little.

You all know someone pERfect like the lady I ran into on Monday – they are pERfect, their husbands are pERfect, their kids are pERfect, their house is pERfect, their life is pERfect, even the plaque in their teeth is pERfect (oh nevermind – they don’t get plaque) and they make us craziER than anyone else. I have a “friend” like this. And I had the good fortune to see her earlier this week. Oh lucky, lucky me. That will remind me not to stray too far from home again.

She honestly told me how much bettER her kids were than mine at, well, simply evERything. She did not exactly say it – she is a mastER at trying to be subtle while bragging, but I am very good at reading between the lines – thank you vERy much. And, I know when you say that it’s too bad my daughter did not receive the Nobel Prize for litERature at the young age of 9 (oh honey, she still has plenty of time), but you must be off to buy a new outfit for your own child’s cERemony – I get it – I am pERfectly insulted.

And, FYI, I happen to think my own kids are pretty great – it’s my job –  so hER sitting next to me and telling me that hER kids were bettER at evERything on the planet than my frumpy little ragdolls – well it might be a little tough to keep my new year’s resolution of not hating the people who drive me pERfectly insane. And it made it even hardER to keep my good sense about me and not push hER down and take hER lunch money to give to some poor child who was less pERfect but hungriER than her own lovely offspring.  ERRRRRRRRRR is right!

And, don’t worry, she is not from my neighborhood. She doesn’t have time to read my blog – well, between the MENSA classes for her two-year-old and the upcoming space flight for her other little blob of pERfection and hER own vERy important job of telling absolutely evERyone how wondERful her children are, she simply does not have time for my silly little blog. Oh, believe you me, the world would stop spinning if she stopped talking about hER own children long enough to actually read about someone else’s kids – yeah – it is not going to happen. No one will be able to figure out who she is. (And no detective, she is not one of my Facebook friends.)

So anyway, I was watching Oprah not too long ago and Oprah was talking with women who have read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth. These were woman who actually chose this book to read because they realize they are far from pERfect and they wanted to find ways to bettER themselves. I liked them already.

And, there was a woman who read the book and decided to stop trying to be any more “ER” than anyone else. She was not going to try to be prettiER, richER, skinniER, smartER or anything else more than anyone. She lost some weight because she stopped obsessing about what she looked like compared to other people, she enjoyed spending time more with her kids because she wasn’t worried about how they compared to other kids, and, in general, life just got easiER.

So I am going to try it – I am not going to be more ER than anyone else. Well, except maybe nicER than my sweet, misguided friend mentioned above. Dang, have I lost my focus already? ERRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On the way to DMV…

Several years ago, not too terribly long after I quit working (translation – still worked my butt off but quit receiving a paycheck for said work) and shortly after Sept. 11th, I lost my drivers license. If there ever was a time to not lose your drivers license, I can assure you this was pretty much it.

juniper images

juniper images

I am guessing that it is likely a universal truth that at every DMV you need two forms of identification to replace your drivers license – and at least one should have your picture and the President’s signature notarized in triplicate – thank you very much. Let’s see – I lost my id with a picture (that’s why went to the DMV) – and I used to have a badge for work, but I turned in my employment badge with a picture – yep – when I quit receiving a paycheck. So, up to the line I go. I had my social security card, which I knew would not count, and my birth certificate, which even if it had a picture, it would not have been a recent one. And, apparently foot prints don’t count either. Who knew?

The clerk, as I will politely refer to him, was not impressed with the baby stroller and my tale of woe. But he was willing to help – or so he pretended. “Let’s see ma’am, maybe you have a pay statement with your social security number in addition to your birth certificate.” Yeah – not so much – remember I quit getting paid for my work. “How about a tax return?” Yeah – also not so much – my husband’s pay information is on that – remember – I don’t get paid anymore. And not for nothing – those are not documents that I normally just happen to have on me. If you need a Cheerio or a goldfish cracker – I can help you with that.

“Oh, I see.” I confused this pause with empathy. He quickly corrected my misinterpretation by saying, “well, ma’am (which made me feel old – great – this just keeps getting better) why did you quit work in the first place? You know those kids aren’t going to appreciate it anyway. You would have been better off staying at work. And, you know, we have to be very careful THESE days. You never know who is plotting what.”

Okay, I know stereotyping is bad – but look if you know me, you know I don’t exactly fit the profile of a terr*rist.  Seriously, if I was a terr*rist, I would not be in the DMV line in the mall with a baby and a stroller. I would have my underlings make me any id I wanted and I would have gladly denied myself the two hours of sheer pleasure I got that day.

I turned around and looked at the sign behind me. It still said DMV – but apparently our DMV now provided career and parental counseling. Well, isn’t this my lucky day?

My former working self would have demanded to speak to the manager. I would have explained that this is no way for me to be treated. I would have been furious – and, of course, if I had still been working, I probably would not have been insulted in the first place. But, I needed a drivers license and I could tell he was considering giving me one. Bastard. He was cracking. And I left with drivers license in hand.

Fast forward to this week at the bus. Flower had left her viola at home. She realized it at the last minute at the bus stop. She got on the bus and then she had the bus driver stop – she actually got off the bus with tears in her eyes and pleaded with me to bring her instrument to school. I did. (Usually I would say “too bad” but they were practicing on a different day that week than they normally did.)

That afternoon, she got off the bus and ran up and hugged me – really hard. And said, “Mommy, thank you so much for bringing my viola to school.” Huge smile on her face – and then mine. First of all, it melts my heart when my kids say Mommy. And, then she thanked me totally unprompted. Take that, Mr. DMV clerk – and to hell with a paycheck – there are some things money really cannot buy.