featured post: Permission to Love the Imperfections

Birth Without Fear is one of my very favorite blogs to read. They support all types of birth experiences and help women who are working through their fears and healing from traumatic experiences. They routinely feature posts by their readers, and one they posted last week really spoke to me.

Permission to Love the Imperfections

This post was written from the perspective of a woman (Elizabeth) who loved her birth experience so much that she became a doula and tried to help other women have the “awesome” experience that she did. However, she realized over the course of several years that even though she was parenting and working in the way she felt she was supposed to in order to be an “awesome mom” and “awesome doula,” she felt like she was drowning.

I slowly began to realize that my awesome mom status had very little to do with what I did. I started realizing that I wasn’t really taking care of me, of my marriage, and that caring for my children in a way that made me sacrifice my well being wouldn’t work out well in the long run.

That takes a lot of guts to admit that what one is doing isn’t working.

I won’t say it happened overnight, but I started to shift my thinking. I started to give myself permission to leave my clingy toddler for 30 minutes so I could exercise. I allowed my husband and I to hire a baby sitter for two hours so we had time for our marriage. I allowed myself the ability to enjoy a birth that was full of interventions. I happily congratulated moms who planned a C-section. I stopped trying to convince my doula clients to switch care providers. What I soon realized was that it was never about how something was done. It was always about how you feel about something.

So simple – and yet SO true.

We were all born with the ability to choose right and wrong. We were also born with the capacity to decide what is right and what is wrong. You can argue that there are biological or religious truths. You can say that we were created to be a certain way or do a certain thing. The fact remains that there will always be someone on the other end saying you are wrong. Ultimately, it is only your truth. And it is perfectly ok! It is just fine to look at your beliefs and hold strong convictions about them and design your life around them and then live that way. It is not ok to force others, belittle others, judge others, or push others into doing the same. And it is also ok to look at your own life and decide that maybe something isn’t working.

Please head over to Birth Without Fear and read the post in its entirety – it’s a great one! Then come back here and join in the discussion…

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Do you give yourself “permission to love the imperfections?”

Do you find yourself judging how others live their lives? How do you work on living your own truth instead of trying to get others onto your page?

What did you think of Elizabeth’s post as a whole? Do you agree or disagree with its premise?

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Josey is mommy to Stella (born Dec.2011) after a two year TTC journey and a tentative Dx of lean PCOS and anovulation. Blessed to get a BFP with a Clomid + Menopur protocol IUI done at CCRM. Currently naturally pregnant with #2! Loves to travel and speak French, drink beer in the sun with her husband and friends, and enjoy all of the outdoor activities that life in Colorado has to offer.

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Flacco misses birth of second child

There is a saying, that I’m not bad-ass enough to say – (or even type) – but it came to mind as I read this article about an NFL quarterback missing the birth of his child to start in his team’s home opener:

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Ice-T, the rapper, before he became an actor on the TV show “Law and Order” is credited as the originator of this quote. I would quote more from his rap, but that is about the cleanest line in the entire song.

Urban dictionary will tell you that this phrase means:

“Do not fault the successful participant in a flawed system; try instead to discern and rebuke that aspect of its organization which allows or encourages the behavior that provoked your displeasure.”

Now that, that is something I would say. And while logically I get that Joe Flacco was probably contractually obligated to play in that game and miss the birth of his child. That he and his wife probably knew the risks when they married, got pregnant, and he signed that million-dollar contract. That they knew it was a possibility he would be forced to miss many special family moments and they planned for that and Flacco’s wife probably had a whole support team with her for labor…

Another part of me is like ‘Really?!’ I couldn’t imagine my husband not being there for the birth of our child. I mean the whole reason you get married/commit your life to someone is that whole ‘life partner’ thing right? (And killing spiders and reaching things off high shelves for me.) What does it say when your ‘life partner’ misses a moment that will never happen again? Sure, there may be more children, but not that child, not that unique moment.

What does it say about society and how far we still have to go?

What does it say about family dynamics?

Again, I get that this was something the Flacco’s knew was a potentiality and prepared for it. But what does that say that we can convince ourselves that something that is not, will never be, “right”, is in fact OK?

To be clear, I am not saying that ALL men/partners must ALWAYS be in the birth room. I know for many cultures that is prohibited. But I am saying that for most cultures/societies the man/partner is in some way supporting his laboring partner while she is in labor, and if not there in the room for the birth is there moments after. And for the culture I write from, the American culture, it is the societal norm that the husband/partner be present with the laboring woman.

While my slant on this is pretty obvious, I’d like to know yours. What do you think of this new article: Joe Flacco’s Wife Gave Birth Sunday and Flacco Started Against the Browns”

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What’s your take on this article?

Under what circumstances is it OK for a person to miss the birth of their child? (obviously emergencies not included.)

Is it made more “OK” because Flacco is being compensated a gross sum of money?

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Stella 1 week family picChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.

news item: The flip side of infertility

Last weekend an ALI friend texted me a link to an article entitled The flip side of infertility, and when I first clicked on it, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From the cozy warmth of my bed, I started reading a post that was somehow instigated by a comment from a woman who had requested the author write a column on infertility and its challenges. I’ll let you pop over and read that post now before you read on here, but suffice it to say, I was blown away by how the post morphed into writing that included gems like:

I am fertile. I come from a family of women who are this way. My mother bore 10 children, her mother had six, and I have a sister who began with twins, following quickly with two more in the space of three years. Then there’s me. I have five children in the space of five years and four months. We are expecting our sixth child in about a month.

and:

For me, however, the biggest challenge I have faced is knowing when it is time to be done having children. Being raised in a home that loved and welcomed so many children, as well as a religion that encourages having children and growing families, it is difficult to know when to call it quits.

and:

Being fertile does have its challenges. Struggling with infertility has its challenges … merely being a mother and a woman has its challenges, and not one greater than the other.

It left me speechless (and to be honest, pretty rage-y), as it made it incredibly evident how clueless the general public can be (and usually is) when it comes to infertility. I’m sorry, but your Mom being extremely fertile doesn’t mean squat about what your fertility will be, and saying that deciding when to stop have kids is just as big of a problem as the challenges an infertile faces… um, are you &#%$^ kidding me?!

The basic difference is this: ONE of those “challenges” includes a CHOICE that one can make. The other does not. One guess for whose “problem” is a choice?

I’m not saying that having an unintended pregnancy isn’t a financial strain for many people, but you really cannot compare choosing to have sex and accidentally getting pregnant and being stressed about it to spending your life savings and then some just trying to get/stay pregnant in the first place or to adopt. You just can’t – or at least you shouldn’t.

I respect that this woman started writing and then realized she had no way to empathetically write an article about infertility since “[she] is fertile,” but to swing 180 degrees the other way to use the article to then claim that the challenge of infertility is no greater that being a fertile and having to face the decision of when to stop  having children… GAH.

If you haven’t figured it out, I don’t really have a point to this post, but it truly is the first thing I’ve read in a while that caused me to stop in my tracks by the outright ridiculousness of the statments and assumptions. Boo hoo on the pain olympics and all that, but really? I’m not feeling badly that it’s so hard for you to decide when to call it quits with having children.

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Do you think this woman should have written the article at all once she realized she was so far out of her knowledge base?

How do we educate the general population about ALI without sounding “woe is me” and hypercritical?

Do you ever get rage-y about articles you read online? Do you comment to try to educate or stay far, far away?

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Josey is mommy to Stella (born Dec.2011) after a two year TTC journey and a tentative Dx of lean PCOS and anovulation. Blessed to get a BFP with a Clomid + Menopur protocol IUI done at CCRM. Currently naturally pregnant with #2! Loves to travel and speak French, drink beer in the sun with her husband and friends, and enjoy all of the outdoor activities that life in Colorado has to offer.

a world without a gun shaped pop-tart is no world at all

I’m overwhelmed at times by the plethora of boys.

First, there is my stinky husband.  Now, I love him, but good lord, he farts.. he burps… he just… stinks.

Then there is my stinky dog. Now, I love him but good lord, his name is Freuhauser. Enough said? (My stinky husband named him. Don’t blame me.)

Then there is my son. Now, I love him.  No but. (Unless he smears his poop on the wall. Then I might not like him very much.)

Boys are a different animal, aren’t they?  I mean, we (for the most part) are all married to one.  (Were we crazy to CHOOSE that?) They even play differently with our kids.  I notice the way Jon throws my son around, they wrestle, you know… boy stuff.

In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”

With 70% of expulsions from schools being boys, how are our schools not serving their needs?  Play is so important in the emotional and physical growth of boys (and girls.)  By limiting creativity, and their natural tendency to be protectors.  According to one study (cited in this article), play fighting rarely escalates to violence. (The study says  only 1% of the time, in fact.)

Lately, with all the school violence and focus on bullying, many schools have adopted “Zero-Tolerance” Policies for many things.  For the most part, I’m cool with them.  But lately, there has been an increasing movement to ban all play that might include (play) fighting, etc.  They are twisting the “no weapons” policy to include “guns” made of fingers, barkchips.. pencils… you name it.

As I read this article, I found myself torn.  I worked with many students who were survivors of domestic violence and were triggered by violent play.  But should we be expelling a kid who was pretending to fight monsters with a barkchip “gun?”

One paragraph regarding “action narratives” (what outsiders might coin as violent play) struck me quite close to home, as a former preschool student educator:

According to at least one study, such play rarely escalates into real aggression — only about 1% of the time. But when two researchers, Mary Ellin Logue and Hattie Harvey, surveyed classroom practices of 98 teachers of 4-year-olds, they found that this style of play was the least tolerated. Nearly half of teachers stopped or redirected boys’ dramatic play daily or several times a week — whereas less than a third reported stopping or redirecting girls’ dramatic play weekly.

In the era of decreasing physical activity but the cutting of gym and recess time, are our kids being force to lose their imagination to appease the ever increasing hot button topic of “Zero-Tolerance?”

Across the country, schools are policing and punishing the distinctive, assertive sociability of boys. Many much-loved games have vanished from school playgrounds. At some schools, tug of war has been replaced with “tug of peace.” Since the 1990s, elimination games like dodgeball, red rover and tag have been under a cloud — too damaging to self-esteem and too violent, say certain experts. Young boys, with few exceptions, love action narratives. These usually involve heroes, bad guys, rescues and shoot-ups. As boys’ play proceeds, plots become more elaborate and the boys more transfixed. When researchers ask boys why they do it, the standard reply is, “Because it’s fun.”

To take it a step further, are all-inclusive games not allowing our children to learn to win and lose? In my former life, I managed before and after school programs and summer camps, and inclusive play was ALL THE RAGE.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a HUGE place for inclusive “no loser” games.  These games provide a sense of teamwork and self worth.  But, I did notice a huge shift in the older kids who were raised on inclusive games… well… exclusively.  They were unable to handle situations where they failed.  They were horrible “losers.”  They couldn’t learn from mistakes, because previously all their mistakes were considered “creative.”  I started hiring staff out of high school who couldn’t be instructed to do something without arguing and just saying “no, I won’t do that, because I don’t WANT to.”

In conclusion, I think there is a fine balance.  I also think that like most things, it comes down to parenting.  Do you talk to your boy (or girl) about pretend play vs. real play?  Do you talk to them about making friends and making sure that they are kind?  Do you explain the difference between a real gun and a pretend one?  Do you teach your child how to win well?  Do you teach them how to lose well?  I think those are the things our boys need most.

That and more recess time.

And baths. (Let’s be honest here.)

Read the complete article HERE.

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What is your experience with your child and “banned” play? 

Do you think boys are at a disadvantage in school?

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Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

news item: Glow: An iPhone App That Aims To Get you Pregnant

Nothing gets my geeky economic-major heart beating faster than reading about “aggregate data analysis.” And when all that aggregate data is being collected in regards to fertility to help women achieve pregnancy? SWOON!

The new Glow app aims to help couples achieve pregnancy by collecting personal data such as cycle lengths, number of days for menstruation, basal-body temperatures, etc. The Glow app collects this data, like many other ‘fertility trackers’, BUT then it does something other programs don’t. It sends your data, along with all the other users data, and AGGREGATES it!

Aggregate data, not a simple average, but a collection and analysis as a whole of disparate sets of information. It also ‘learns’ about your personal information, and based on that and other analyses adapts and offers recommendations.

Why is this so cool? First because this is the potential for a large collection of infertility data to be analysed and looked at for patterns as a whole. Regression Analyses can be done to look for insights to infertility. What types of answers could all this data get us? One potential insight into infertility is why for some people does IUI work, and relatively easily, but for others they have to do IVF? Yes, there are many factors to this answer. But what if a regression analysis is run on all the data and it shows women with cycles that average between 36-40 days have an overwhelming success rate with IUI, but women who average 41-50 day cycles have a much worse outcome with IUI? Could this help us refine what sort of treatments we seek out?

Second, this app also has a buy-in option:

Glow users can choose to contribute $50 a month for up to 10 months to the fund. If they get pregnant during that time, they don’t get their money back. If they don’t, they get a share of the pooled money to use for fertility treatments. Huang says that the company hopes that Glow First will be able to cover the entire cost for such procedures, which can run from $20,000 to $40,000.

As the article mentions, there is another company out there that also collects and aggregates data. But the buy-in option really sets Glow apart. It is an interesting idea, with very few insurance companies offering any, or paltry, infertility coverage, this might be a real option for some people.

Now the downside of this is that this requires full participation by a large number of people over a long period of time. It also requires you to be okay with your personal health information being shared, (anonymously), with other people. It also requires you to be honest as it ask such personal questions as sexual position and the ever popular, cervical mucus description.

Check out the full article here: Glow Iphone App.

Slate magazine also does an excellent write-up of this new app, however it does have a negative slant, check it out here: Glow App, and let us know your take on it.

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Do you find this new App and company hopeful or another gimmick?
Would you consider doing the buy-in option?
What do you think about a private company collecting (anonymously) fertility data?

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pail mmm 8-20-12 (2)Chandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She never has a tidy house and she is in constant need of coffee.

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