Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Agony and Ecstacy of Motherhood

When my husband and I decided it was time to start a family, we were so sweetly naive. I think you have to be to start down the path of parenthood, otherwise no one would have the courage! I look back on the pregnancy and births of all my kids and with each one, I got smarter and smarter. I started with no real understanding of what I was getting myself into, then gained more and more knowledge with each pregnancy. If there is one piece of advice I could give all women who are about to embark on getting pregnant, it would be this: Don't bother buying any books. Go to the library or online for all your info because all those books "What To Expect The First Year" and so on will go half read at best. I never had time, after the first one, to pick the book up again. All the books I received or bought for myself, to prepare were great and finished reading before my first, and from then on, reading was something I used to do, when I had spare time.... which, I think I have forgotten what that truly means. Spare Time...

Before Children (BC), "spare time" could be hours of time where I had no where to be, and nothing pressing to do.

Photo by Richard Baker

After Children (AC), said time became fleeting moments, 30 min if I was lucky, where the baby was sleeping, or daddy had just enough patience to wrangle. In these moments, I have learned to speed read articles I can find, basically cliff notes online. I have become a master at finding easy quick meals online, printing it out and rushing to the task. In my "spare time", I can unload the dryer, then reload the dryer and washer. Of course, the newly dried clothes may at times sit in a pile either on the bed for a few days or on the floor at the foot of the bed before being finally sorted and put away. I can unload and reload the dishwasher in record time. Or, at the very least, get a shower, and dressed, before the baby has a melt down.

BC, I was certain I would do cloth diapers, breast feed exclusively for the first two years, then make my own baby food. I was going to teach him to sign, and go to infant learning classes and mommy and me playgroups and, and, and..... And then he came.

It was so overwhelming and wonderful, but I was SO. TIRED. He was colicky, and we now know he also had severe reflux that went undiagnosed until he was 6yo. I struggled for three months with breast feeding and it was the worst experience ever. He lost weight and the doctor told me that the assumptions of certain family members, that I was starving him to death, were true. When I gasped and started crying, he impatiently added, "Well, unintentionally." My nipples bled, and I went to a lactation consultant, who never noticed he was also tongue tied (we didn't find this out until a dentist pointed it out this year!). I would nurse for as long as he would remain awake, then use a supplemental nurser to add formula to his diet. Then, after he went to sleep, I would pump for half an hour. This was every two hours, without fail. I did this for 24 hours, for three months. One morning, he woke up and was crying. I fed him, and went to burp him and he projectile vomited all over the wall. I was so tired, and so frustrated, I started kicking the wall in exhausted frustration. I thought my husband was already gone for work, when he stuck his head in the door, worried and asked me what happened. I was embarrassed and told him, "Nothing, I stumbled getting out of bed." I was determined to do it all on my own, and in retrospect, I wish I would have asked for more help, but I was afraid of looking weak, and appearing incapable.

With my second, I vowed I would do better. I got mastitis. Not a severe enough case to warrant antibiotics, but I shudder at the thought that it could possibly be worse. I gritted my teeth through the pain, and was rewarded with thrush that we passed back and forth for a month. At 7 mos, I thought he weened himself after his first taste of food, and gave up, disappointed. I wish I had known what nursing strikes were and to keep offering. With two little ones, I struggled to keep up with my vow to make their baby food, but gave in to jarred organic food. Cloth diapers? Pffft! I wondered in amazement, how women coped, before washing machines let alone disposable. I was too exhausted to make it to too many support groups like Mommy and Me and I slowly found myself quite isolated from any kind of adult interaction beyond my mom, who was a blessing to have close by.

My third, came years later. I felt I had all the info I could possibly have. I found a doula and was rewarded with an amazing birth experience that made up for the first two, that had so much medical interference. The first three months, nursing was a magical thing. Then, my body betrayed me. My thyroid failed and with it, my milk supply dwindled. My husband gave him his first few bottles as I wept while pumping. I continued pumping and giving whatever I could until it disappeared. I couldn't afford the doctor appointment and blood work to get the medication I needed, until it was too late.

I had to come to terms, with not being able to have the "perfect mothering experience". Even if I had all the resources and money in the world, I don't think I would I have been able to avoid all the pitfalls. That's life. I love my children immensely and do everything possible to care for them. I am up all hours of the night, catching up on housework, and preparing for the next day, while doing the midnight, and 3am feedings for the baby. I manage my own type I diabetic status (though, not as well as I should due to low funds), as well as my now 6yo's who was diagnosed at age three (see video: Connor Takes Charge). I run them to and fro to play dates and activities. I manage doctor and dentist appointments. My house is rarely "clean" by most people's standards and my filing method is "organized piles" that drive my husband batty before I am able to knock them down temporarily. But you know what? I am a damn good mother! I do my absolute best. I put myself last and give my all for my family and if anyone were to tell me I am not good enough, then FORGET THEM!

I do get a little hurt, and sometimes it really gets to me, but overall, I know that no one could possibly love them more than me and I am secure in the fact that they never go without what they need: unconditional love and support.

So if you are a mom who is struggling with depression and feelings of inadequacy, stop fretting and look at the bigger picture! Try to enjoy those fleeting precious moments with your babies. You will never get that time back. What your children will remember most, isn't that the house was spotless, and your hair always just right. They will however remember, that you were there for them, and loved them dearly. For THAT, you are amazing. Each and every one of my fellow mommies. You are all, AMAZING.

Related Posts:

Kathryn Ann Sneed: It's Okay Not to be That Mom
Nicki: Beyond the Boob (a new mum's tale)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Doughnut Pudding... Whaaa?

You read me correctly. Doughnut pudding. If you have had bread pudding, then you know exactly where I am headed with this. In traditional bread pudding, you take pieces of bread, place in bake ware and pour a milk/egg mixture over it. and bake, creating a soft almost custard like pudding. Well, if you have any stale or dried out doughnuts from a few days ago, this recipe will make a fantastic brunch dessert or great treat to impress a new neighbor with.

Doughnut Pudding

  • approx 4 doughnuts of your choice (except filled)
  • 2C. milk or eggnog (nog is best!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2C. raisins or craisins
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°

Cube up the doughnuts to bite size pieces. I used a combo of apple fritters, cinnamon twists and a glazed cake doughnut. Place in a single layer in a 9X13 in glass baking pan that has been buttered. At this point, make sure you have enough doughnuts to completely fill the single layer. You don't want a lot of gaps.

In a large bowl, blend together the eggnog and eggs and pour over the doughnuts, being sure to cover them completely. If you need more liquid to do that, the ratio is 1C. milk or eggnog to 1 egg (I add an extra egg to enhance the texture and richness). Let it sit and soak up the liquid for 10-15 min. Sprinkle raisins and cinnamon on the top and bake for 45min or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I prefer it served warm with a little warm milk drizzled on top. My kids like it with a scoop of ice cream. Either way, it is wonderful! Experiment with the type of doughnuts and milk like chocolate milk, various flavors of eggnog and such. This is a great recipe the have the kids help with because it is so easy. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Earth Is Dying of Rot

As I compose this post, I am sick to my stomach. Our world is dying from an infectious disease that is rotting societies across the globe. Often, victims beget victims, and the cycle is vicious and often fatal. The media only brings it into the limelight when a celebrity steps forward with a personal story of their pain and struggle to overcome the effects that linger, or when a pretty blue eyed girl falls prey and the nation is outraged for a few weeks until the next reality show train wreck makes a new scene. Then, it is tucked away and forgotten. Our government does just enough to keep itself from looking totally uninterested in finding ways to combat this sickness, but as far as I am concerned, it is not enough. What is this awful disease I am talking about?


What goes through your mind when you read those words? Does it make you sick? Angry? Afraid? Or are you like so many, who either want to pretend it doesn't exist or advocate it with your silence. Wait! Back up! Did I just say, "ADVOCATE it with your SILENCE?" Yes. I did. You, the elite who decry all forms of injustice, as long as you can look sexy while doing it. Don't kill seals! Save the whales! End war! All these messages can be done wearing a little black dress or tight jeans and they all parrot the words of the authors of such causes. None can probably even give a single statistic and get back in their limos and forget all about it until the next check has to be signed, fundraiser promoted or talk show wants to do a special on their favorite cause (while also plugging their next film or album). All are hypocrites. If you truly cared, then you would do anything to protect the youngest and most vulnerable of our society. Children who are living in the shadow of pain and guilt, are being destroyed in body and soul at an alarming rate and no one is really shouting loud enough for my liking.

I was on a road trip with four friends and we were chatting about all kinds of things. Boys, school (we had all graduated a few years before) and life in general. Slowly, the conversations became more serious and dark. One by one we told stories of things in our lives we had never told anyone. Things that aren't discussed over tea or espresso in a local cafe. To our horror, we realized, that all but one had been sexually molested and all knew others close to us or had witnessed another being abused.
Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.
All but one of us had reported the abuse. The rest of us, have lived with the torment in silence. Pedophiles and their advocates want to eventually be considered a minority like homosexuals. In fact, there is one man who has been the author a few vulgar books, who routinely refers to his kind as "pedosexual" and calls for society to accept that having sex with babies and young children is normal, and only seen as harmful because people have attached a hysteria to it. I am here to tell you, that no one knew what happened to me for decades, and I lived with a knot in my stomach and an emptiness that I am still trying to heal. It is NOT normal or okay. It DOES cause grief, pain and illness in mind and body that for the most part, never goes away. The people who inflict this kind of heartache on children are evil, soulless monsters who are selfish and only interested in fulfilling their sick fantasies and sexual perversion. Some try to claim they "love" the child, but what is love?
I Corinthians 13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. 
When you truly love someone, you do not work to get something from them or to control them. Love is a freeing feeling of wanting the best for the person you are attracted to. That is love. Pedophiles are not capable of love because they are only interested in what they lust for. They do not care that they hurt or may even kill the object of their obsession. All pedophiles deal in secrecy and shadows. They tell their victims to never tell, either with threats or lies that trick the child into silence.

How do you banish the shadows and prevent evil from hiding? Cast a bright light of justice and the glaring eye of an outraged public on it. How can this be accomplished when so many work so hard to ignore it? This is why I am stepping up and shouting, asking everyone who has ever been a victim, knows one or has children they would kill to protect, to do so with me.
How Prevalent is Child Sexual Abuse?
FACT: The real prevalence of child sexual abuse is not known because so many victims do not disclose or report their abuse. Researchers have suggested rates varying from 1% to 35%. Most professionals in the field of abuse use rates from 8% to 20%.

FACT: Even if the true prevalence of child sexual abuse is not known, most will agree that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused before they turn 18 if we do not prevent it
I was made aware of a terrible reality yesterday. According to the news, (link here to article and here to the news broadcast) Amazon was selling an e-book entitled "A Pedophile's Guide To Love and Pleasure" by Phillip R. Greaves (this is a second edition btw). After a public outcry was made, Amazon had this to say:
"Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."
The message between the lines, read like this to me:
"Amazon does not support or promote the illegal and horrifying act of child sexual assault, but supports individuals who feel it is their right to rape children."
Is this the message they were trying to convey? If so, then I am physically ill at the thought of ever doing business with them and effective immediately, I no longer will be. Until Amazon takes a stand against the wanton disregard for the rights of children, and essentially advocating child sexual exploitation by hiding behind the limp excuse that is "personal rights", I hope others will follow my lead.

No pedophile needs assistance in learning how to effectively groom a child into believing that his victimization is normal and okay. The numbers are staggering, how many have fallen victim to the predators, who's "rights" Amazon wishes to protect. Freedom of speech carries with it, the responsibility of not causing physical harm to any human. The fact that the smallest, most vulnerable of our population are not of this large company's concern is appalling.

I believe that anyone and everyone who is willing to look the other way when this type of crime is being committed, or offers advice on how to get away with committing this vile abuse, are all accomplices and should be considered as such in court cases. I believe that judges, who release child molesters, repeatedly who re offend should be disbarred and tried alongside the pedophile as an accomplice and fully investigated. Those in legislature and on the Supreme Court should be held to this as well. Anyone who would defend this group of vile, evil monsters are highly suspect in my opinion. It's almost as if they feel hypocritical to pass laws or judgement that would appropriately punish pedophiles and protect our country. This is not some minor thing either. Child sexual abuse has far reaching effects in our society that damages it deeply.

If you are interested in educating yourself on the staggering statistics, go to the Darkness To Light (statistics section) website. There is a large volume of information and resources there. It's a start. Use your voice to spread knowledge and raise the public's awareness so we can stop this from continuing.

How much more noble a cause, than defending the innocence and honor of babies and children?

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