Sunday, September 30, 2012

Balpreet Kaur and Why I Will Help My Daughter Figure Out Makeup


 
I posted about this story a few days ago, but I am still thinking about Balpreet Kaur. I suggest you read the story, but a quick rundown: someone took a photo of her and posted in online to mock her. She found it and respectfully explained why she does not alter her appearance in any way. I have to tell you, I find her reasoning extremely compelling. I have no intentions of electively altering my body or using injections to “keep me young”. I already have white hairs at my temples, and I have no intentions of dyeing it to cover it up.  I could stand to lose some weight and I am working on that, but I also am happy with my curves. To be honest, I really do wish that our society (and me!) could be more accepting of just letting women look how they look. It is easy to agree with Balpreet on things such as elective surgery, but when we get down to daily beauty routines, it becomes more complicated for me.

I shave my legs. I tweeze stray hairs. (Yep. PCOS is awesome in so many ways in addition to stealing fertility.) I straighten my not-curly-or-straight enough hair when I have the time. I wear a little make-up every now and then.  These are things I have done, in some form, since I was 10 without thinking twice… until I had children and they started to watch me do my hair and makeup. Things like “Am I telling her we aren’t good enough the way we were made?” “How can I explain makeup in a positive light?” and “Will this influence his views on women?” began to run on loop in my head. I can talk a big game, but the reality is I started to do these things to feel better about myself.  If my hair was a little curlier or a little straighter, I would nix the straightener routine, but I like my hair to look straight! (For the record I would also LOVE to be able to pull off curls, but my hair does not hold curling iron or hot roller curls even with gallons of hair spray.) I started wearing makeup at 13 because the so called “pretty girls” did and I wanted to feel like I looked my best. (Full disclosure, I look back on photos of us all and laugh. There we are, at a Catholic school that doesn’t allow makeup with foundation lines or looking like we had been hit on the face with white powder, as though we were fooling everyone.)

When I went to a public high school, makeup was more about having fun. I finally was able to wear something to school other than a white shirt and a plaid skirt. I could buy nail polish and wear it without being sent to the boiler room at school to try to scrub it off with paint thinner. I read about how brown eyes should wear purples in YM and so I wore purple mascara. It was about expressing who I was and having fun. I would be a liar if I did not say that some of my self confidence was attached to wearing makeup. Adolescence is tough. You struggle with being a person. I had a grown up body but I was immature and inexperienced in life. Sometimes this still describes me! I was lucky that I had a mom that helped me figure out the purpose of makeup: to enhance. To this day, when I wear makeup, it is a foundation with an SPF, mascara and a little eye shadow. Blushes and lipstick are too crazy for me. None of the things that I do are drastic by any measure of the word, but I still find myself wondering why and how can I explain this to my children without some version of “women aren’t good enough” even if it is veiled or prettied up?
 

 These thoughts swirl around in my brain at least once a day. I truly do admire Balpreet. She is a strong and confident woman who takes her faith seriously. She believes she was designed perfectly. I would agree and also say that I believe I was also designed perfectly. It was not until recently that I began to evaluate whether my actions showed this. By society’s standards I am no means on the extreme end of the spectrum. I probably fall towards the boring end as I do not even have any tattoos or current piercings. So I ask again, how do I explain this to my children?

I don’t know that I have any solid answers today, but here is what I have so far. Makeup is fun and can give you a boost on days that you really need it, but your self image and worth cannot depend on it. We are complicated people with many interests, goals, talents and quirks that work together. Beauty is not more important than any of these things, because beauty comes from these things. I will teach my children that women and men alike come in all shapes, sizes and colors and that our bodies are different and work differently sometimes. When my daughter asks questions about makeup, I will help her learn how to do it right, not forbid it or pretend she isn’t asking. I will talk to her about why she wants to wear it and tell her that she really is exquisite without it.

As far as putting makeup in a positive light goes, for the time being I am mulling this over: I appreciate how God made me. I do not believe my hairy forearms were an accident anymore than the fantastic eyebrows I was blessed with are an accident. (Seriously, never had to pluck!) However, I do like to put clothes on that compliment my body, and enhance my features a little bit with some makeup. I straighten my hair because it is thick yet fine and really shiny and I consider it one of my favorite things about me even if I do just throw it into a ponytail 85.71% of the time. (I did the math.) All of us should feel good about the things we like about ourselves and strive to feel better about the things we don’t like about ourselves. I am human, and sometimes I need the reminder that I am beautiful, just as God made me.  Sometimes I need an eyelash curler and some black mascara to remind me. Other times it is a phone call from a friend, an unexpected husband compliment, or an email from someone telling me thanks for the great post!

I will end with a challenge. Make an effort to compliment others more often. Not on how they look, but on something else that you appreciate about them. Everyone needs to be reminded that they are truly exquisite.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Juggling Friendships


 
If I have learned anything since high school it is that friendships do not always stay the same, and they are molded not by length of time but by milestones. I remember going back over Thanksgiving break my freshmen year of college and having a gush fest with my 3 best friends about how we were so lucky to have met in high school because we met our closest friends so early in life and things would always be that way. Most of those friendships did not survive the first year of college. I can’t speak for them, but I was meeting new people with similar interests that lived down the hall or had several classes with me. I also spent my first two summers traveling instead of hanging out at home. I met new best friends. The same thing happened when I transferred schools. It happened again when I married my husband, and when I had children. Some friendships faded, some rekindled, and others blossomed.

I can look back and pin point exactly when my attitude towards friendships changed. I had arranged a surprise visit for a friend’s birthday my junior year of college. Her birthday was a Friday and it was a 4 hour drive to her home from my school, so I did not make it until close to midnight. She was falling asleep and tired and I was disappointed because I missed her so much. The next day I found out she stayed up almost all night talking with a few other people and I was crushed. I was a bit immature I will admit, but I missed her a great deal and had been struggling making friends at a new school. I went back to school convinced we would not be talking to each other again. I began making a greater effort to meet new people and to hang out with acquaintances. I was also dating my future husband at the time. One night in the computer lab, he asked about my friend, and I said I had not talked to her in almost a month, and I told him what had happened. He laughed at me. I went home and thought about whether or not I needed her in my life and if her friendship was worth the effort. (By the way, I completely know how this story sounds. I sound immature and petty and it was a stupid thing to be so angry about.) The next day I called her to apologize. I told her that I missed her and did not want to give up our friendship when we were both in such exciting places in life: school, dating really great guys and figuring out who we were. She is still one of my closest friends and I begrudgingly have my husband to thank for rescuing that friendship.

As life changes, friends come and go. The good ones stick with you through thick and thin. You miss some friendships that crumble. I lost many single friends both male and female when I married my husband. My friends changed again when I had my first child.

By nature, I am not a friendly person. I am more introverted and tend to only talk to people when I am forced to do so for work or other reasons. I like to be home. Now that I am a mom and live at least a half a country away from all my friends, my friendships are again being tested. I am thankful for the many social media outlets available that help me stay in touch, because my kids and phone calls are the worst combination ever in most cases. A typical conversation with a friend who does not have kids looks something like this:

Me: We were out the other day and I was thinking about (Hey sweetie, please don’t climb on that you could get hurt.) I was thinking about…

Friend: What was that? Something about climbing?

Me: Oh the boy was climbing on the desk and I was trying to make sure he didn’t (SCREAM! Hey kiddo, it’s ok! I know you stepped on the book) Anyway, what was I saying?

Friend: Something about a book? I can’t hear you…

Me: Hey, I need to change the girl’s diaper so I will just shoot you an email later.

Pretty frustrating. My husband and I get compliments all the time about how well behaved our children are in public, so I have given up trying to keep the volume down at home. We have yelling competitions, we sing at lunch and things are just too loud for anything other than necessary phone calls unless I call while the kids are eating and I skip a meal. There are different rules with my friends that also have children though. It is as though there is an unspoken Parent Code that tells you to just skip over the kid talk. Here is a typical conversation with my friends with kids:

Me: I am sorry things are so crazy for you right now. I can definitely (Hey buddy, can you put that down?) I’m going to put you on speak phone while I change him. I can definitely understand why she was upset. I will try to reach out to her…

Friend: (Can you bring that over here? You don’t need to be doing that.)

Me: Did I tell you what happened last week?

Friend: Yeah, how did that turn out? (Yes, I need a footlong meatball sub with cheese…)

Quiet…Quiet…Quiet…

Friend: Ok, so how did it turn out? (Here is your sandwich, hon.)

Me: Well, it worked itself out….

I have close friends that are single and close friends that are married with babies. We find different ways to make it work. Sometimes months pass between our conversations, but when the relationship is important to both people it is as though no time has passed.  Late night and early morning calls happen. Texting (as much as I despise it) allows for a little human contact. Email conversations build the relationship, and Facebook allows you to see their lives unfold at near stalker level and makes you miss them even more. We send birthday cards, small gifts, little notes. The best thing is that the friends you would walk through fire for, are the ones that find a way to make the friendship as high a priority as is possible.

To all my friends: Thank you for the effort. I miss you and I look forward to the next time I can be reminded that I am not just a mom and a wife!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Like Magazines.


I love to get mail. Snail mail, packages, junk mail, email… you name it. I flip through catalogues and play the Pick-One-Thing-On-Each-Page-You-Like game. I also love to read, so obviously magazine subscriptions are a must. When I was younger, I subscribed to Highlights and Cricket.
How do you pronounce Gallant?!
 
I would keep every issue for months. When I was ten, I sent off to be a lifetime member of the Lisa Frank fan club so I could get the quarterly newsletter and the new member kit. (I still can’t believe they stopped sending me the newsletter!)
What can I say? I am a sucker for unicorns. I blame my mom.
 
In my teens, I had a subscription to YM. I would pull out all the really colorful ads and make envelopes out of them. I loved to check out my dad’s Wizard each issue to see their picks for actors in super hero movies. I also tried to buy Mad magazine and The Rolling Stone as often as possible. In my adult years, I try to steer clear of Cosmo and the like, but during my advocacy days I would buy them for group topics, and that is how I ended up with a RedBook subscription. I subscribed to Domino (an interior design magazine) until they shut it down, sending me the disappointing replacement of Lucky until my subscription ran out.  My quest for new recipes also leads me to subscribe to Family Circle (lapsed… but I buy it from time to time!) and the Rachael Ray Mag. I will pick up other magazines from time to time if I want to read about the celeb on the cover. My son received a National Geographic for Kids subscription for Christmas. This was the best gift idea ever, and I intend to renew it. I also have a few mags on my Want list: The Liguorian, Verily… bottom line: my love of mail and reading (and pop culture… the former director of my graduate program used to talk about a pop culture major at the school he attended. This is simply thrilling to me.) has enabled me to fall in love with magazines as well.

Now that I have revealed my addiction hobby, I have something to get off my chest.

To the magazine editors of America:

I am not reading your magazines to learn how to blow him away in bed. I also do not read them to find out what jeans best fit my body type. (Trust me: I do not match up with any of the types you list. Ever.) I like scouting the pages to see if any of the clothes are from my favorite store. I like the random internet/shopping/app finds. I like to read about people’s lives. I like to keep up on what American women are being sold, and to know what I am up against. I may not represent the kind of woman you are trying to brainwash. I am fully aware of the difference between reality and dream land. I watch movies and read magazines knowing they are not real. I know my heart, and the person I am. I am confident and strong in my faith and my intellectual abilities. I read your magazines because I like to read and I like a little of the fantasy. Lately, that fantasy has become so distorted that I can’t seem to enjoy it, even for a moment. The latest issue of RedBook that arrived in the mail contained the following amid its 196 pages:

Ads for anti-aging products (often more than one page in length including anything from crèmes to Botox): 8

Ads for other beauty products (including makeup, nail polish, body wash, a prescription to make your eyelashes longer hair dye, etc.): 24

Ads for clothing (often more than one page in length): 7

Ads for diets: 2

Ads for depression medications: 2

Ads for hormonal contraceptives: 1

Ads for pet food: 3 (I know this seems out of place but it made me laugh that most of these were clustered toward the end, as though it was a last ditch effort to reach a broader base: “Oh, you are already old, not dieting or wearing the latest fashions? Here are some great options for your pets.”)

The issue itself was chalked full of anti-aging stories (It was the anti-aging issue, after all.), fashion advice, personal advice, a few recipes, and lots of ads for food and OTC medications. I know that you make money off your advertisers, but are there any standards? The ads are on every other page of your magazines. The ads paint the picture that your readers are obsessed with defeating their own mortality, and if they are not, they should be.

Again. Maybe I am just not your target demographic. I am okay with that. I can skip around the ads until my subscription runs out. Fortunately for me, I am hearing a lot of positive buzz about Verily: a magazine that acknowledges a woman’s appearance is not the most important thing about her. While I’m at it, I will skip the early tweenage brainwashing for my daughter, and just subscribe to New Moon Girls for her.

Sincerely, Me

I have learned my lesson. For the most part, I am going to stick to the cooking and design magazines. However, if I come across a cover in the checkout lane with Zooey or Emma, I might not be able to resist the fantasy indulgence…

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Struggles in Motherhood

someecards.com - What kind of a mother doesn't have a fully stocked diaper bag with her at all times?



The following is an exchange between a dear friend and myself. We had completely crappy days on the same day, and I think just about any mom can relate to these stories. (For those of you with a purer heart than mine, there is some language. Sorry about that.)













We all do important work and there are many reasons to struggle with the complexities of these issues.



Staying at home with children is hard. Working and then coming home is hard. There are stay at home mom's who are lazy. It is easy as a working mom to look at those women and judge. There are mothers who work outside the home who are lazy. It is easy to look at those women and judge. However, there are those of us who are staying at home or working who are giving every ounce of ourselves to our kids. Those of us who have not a minute to ourselves, who have no time for relaxing, who never go to the bathroom in peace, who crawl into bed every night exhausted from giving so much. Those mothers exist despite working outside the home or not. I was discussing SAHM vs working with a friend one day and stated that I never have been judgemental towards those who stay at home. I try really hard to respect the choice they've made. This friend looked at me and said, "Ya, but they judge you. They will talk about choice but most of them couldn't get a decent job--so they have to exhalt it up as a 'choice' so they don't have to admit that having kids keeps them from looking like an unemployed bum". This type of thought goes both ways. It serves no greater purpose. Yes, if I work I get adult time. I also miss out on my kids. Yes, if you are a SAHM you get to do more with your children than I do. Perhaps that is some of the judgement regarding being lazy as a SAHM: the thought of a working mother who would give anything to have more time with their kids. As a working mother, there is simply never enough time to capture the moments with your kids. At the same time, as a SAHM you aren't getting adult time. As a friend who is a SAHM told me, "I just want to talk with someone who reads the newspaper--who can talk about something other than their kids." There are negatives on both sides. It is difficult at times, however, for me to remember this.



For example:



It was a church night. I am so happy that L loves church. Still, adding in things at night becomes exhausting when you have a spouse who works nights. There is no rest for the weary! As we get out of the car, G starts throwing this HUGE fit. The kind that embarrasses you and challenges your belief that you are a decent parent. G throws herself on the ground, in the rain, and by the time I get her back up she is covered in mud. The only word that comes to mind at a time like this is "fan-freaking-tastic". I walk into a church where at least half of the mothers do not work outside the home--if not more. So, most of the time, I end up feeling like an odd duck out anyway. I'm also considerably younger than most of the mothers. As I walk in, another mother, a SAHM, looks at G, and in what came across as a very patronizing tone, states that she has spare clothes--because she always carries something extra with her. I wanted to punch her. Even if it was *perhaps* meant nice and not patronizing. I wanted to add, "great did you bring extra food too? Because after getting up at 6 am to make breakfast, get myself ready, get kids ready, making sure my husband is up, working 8 hours in heels that kill me with people I don't really like, I drove home, picked them up, and I came here to sit and make sure no one molests my freaking kid since my work has shown me that church is a dangerous f*cking place for kids." Did I mention G is still crying? That my patience is wearing thin? That I just want to go home and go to bed? That this won't happen because when we get home we have homework, and I have to pick up the house, and crawl into bed exhausted just to do it all over again the next morning. That on days like this I feel like a horrible person so really, I'm so freaking glad that you have an extra 8 hours a day I don't have to clean your freaking house and pack extra f*cking clothes.





Then I have to remember, this is a mom who really is a nice person. Who might not realize how she is coming across. Who is also tired, who was with her kids all day, who probably really wants some adult companionship, and who might come across patronizing because she is used to talking to kids all day.



I try and remind myself of this when I see a SAHM whose house isn't clean, or who doesn't seem organized, or whose kids seem completely unsupervised. It isn't my job to judge her parenting style. (Maybe not leave my kids with her...but how she raises her kids is her choice--not mine.) I remind myself it is easy to look at me on a night like the one above and see a mom who works who doesn't seem to like her kids. When really, I love my children but I am exhausted from trying to make sure that my children don't miss out on anything because I work outside the home. We see glimpses of lives--not the whole picture. This is why we as women must stop looking for ways to judge--and start finding ways to show grace and love to one another.





I remind myself that we live in a society that tells me that I should feel bad if I don't work (because then I am dependent on my husband) and that I should feel bad if I do work (because I am not there for my kids). So really, all moms are losing and struggling to find a good balance. I have to remind myself that while she may not understand my day--I might not understand her day too.



It is hard sometimes to remember all of this. It is hard to remember when my life is filled with so much. Between trying to be a spouse, having a job where people gossip and cause problems, struggling with confliced feelings about issues that shouldn't be issues, trying to graduate on time, take care of my kids, etc. There are times I don't want to be a good person. Days where all I do is complain and be negative. That isn't who I am and it adds to my frustration. There are days where I want to have a fit because it is all so damn frustrating.



I guess maybe I should have a little more sympathy for G. Maybe, just maybe, deep down I was a little bit jealous. There are moments I want to throw myself down on the ground and scream too...




*********************************************************************************





When you make the decision to stay home with your kids, there is no weekend, yet you look forward to the weekend. You wake up every morning excited to see your babies, but exhausted the moment they start needing you. When you stay at home, you are the life planner for the entire household. You take them to doctor's appointments, you get the oil changes in the vehicles, you do the bulk of the shopping and household chores, and when the time comes that you need to see the doctor because you have run yourself ragged, your toddler goes the entire day without a diaper change, your two month old does as well, and the baby doesn't get fed for 5 hours. You show up to your appointment late with two kids that are cranky and tired and hungry and you are all of the above and everyone in the waiting room thinks you are a charity case. That is the worst of days. On the best of days, you are asked 5 times "Do you need paperwork for WIC?" or "Will you be using food stamps?" or "But what do you DO all day?" in a tone of voice that includes an eyeroll no matter what your answer is. People assume you have time to pack a diaper bag and that you always remember to grab it before you head out the door. At times your spouse truly believes spending 12 hours a day at his workplace with 40 people that ask questions and still can't complete a task is the equivalent of spending 15 hours a day with two kids that need you to feed them, clothe them, kiss their booboos, play blocks their way, make a mess with them then clean up the mess for them, make them sleep when they are tired and continue to do all this while then listening to him complain about how terrible his day was while you clean up. There is also the matter of being responsible for teaching these beautiful beings how to be decent people. Please and Thank You and it is never socially appropriate to pick your nose and eat it, take off your clothes in public when you feel like it, or scream when you don't get your way. You ignore the fact that your son has started to say "sh*t" when he drops something, and REALLY ignore that he tries to mimic you when you say f*ck. You wake up every morning determined to be the best you can be and by ten you have already wanted to scream, need a nap and vow tomorrow will be easier. You miss having coworkers to complain about, adults to talk to, and being able to get into a vehicle and not have to unload two other bodies. You miss feeling smart. You miss having someone say " You look great today" because let’s face it: there is no use doing your hair, putting on makeup, shaving your legs and putting on fabulous clothes for kids that will puke on you and want to show you where your eyes are by poking you in them repeatedly. You pay your student loans a little begrudgingly because you are not using that Masters degree in the way that you had meant to use it at the moment. You hate that guy in college that told you it didn't matter where you went to school because your husband would end up paying your loans because he was right. You envy women that get to leave every day, but then you get to hear your son say "mom" and call his sister by name. You get to see her first smile and they want you when they are scared. Then you thank God and your husband for blessing you because you have the opportunity to do it all over again the next day.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Part Two: Seven Years and Women's Health



This is the second part of Seven Years and Women’s Health. Yesterday, I wanted to spend some time explaining a little bit of my own experiences with life and pregnancy as a preface to my reaction to an article that popped up on my newsfeed, courtesy of the New Wave Feminists.

If you did not click on the article link the first time, here it is again. If you can’t get through it, I understand. If you did get through it, do not read the comments, because they are vomit inducing. I have a difficult time reading about abortion as though it is so casual. I have a difficult time reading articles about choice when adoption is not a choice.

It is possible that, while I am against abortion for many logical and sound reasons, I am also against abortion because it is a topic that hits close to home. I came into my parent’s lives when my mom was in high school. Her parents did not want to see me born. Had my mother (a scared kid without much support) and my father (a slightly older scared kid) not fought for my life, I would not have had a chance to live it.  When folks start talking about kids getting pregnant and the importance of abortion, I instinctively bristle. In all of the seven year lives I have led, I have always found abortion to be unimaginable.

I bring this up because we as pro-life and pro-choice women alike are seriously missing an opportunity (I seriously have the New Wave Feminists to thank for reminding me of this.) While the subject of legal abortion divides us, we should be 100% united behind comprehensive healthcare at every stage of the debate. We should be united in demanding that:

1.       While abortion clinics exist, they should be held to the same standards of cleanliness and quality of care as hospitals and other medical clinics. (Yes, plastic surgery centers should as well.)

2.       Women should not be made to feel abortion is their only choice. Women deserve support when choosing their child or adoption. They deserve resources and information.

3.       Women deserve healthcare (and a culture for that matter) that does not punish them for how their bodies naturally work. Women grow babies. They give birth to babies. We all came to be on earth this way. We deserve medicine that heals instead of irreparably damaging our bodies.

As I have said, given what I now know about the rate of cesareans and inductions, I would have made different choices. Maybe things would have been different, maybe not. I think it speaks volumes that a well-educated woman like me was unaware of how common c-sections have become. Instead, when I search for articles related to women’s health, I am inundated with pro-choice rhetoric as it relates to abortion and contraception. Is that all that women’s health is about anymore? Are our choices so narrow that pregnancy is not important? How many seven year long lives must I live before seeing this change? I have to believe that in the grand scheme of things, most women would rather see comprehensive, pro-woman/holistic treatment options regardless of how they feel about legal abortion. I have to believe that we have that in common, or I will have reached the end of my rope with the abortion/ women’s health debate. If true healthcare for women does not include healthcare that supports what our bodies naturally do, then how can it be healthcare?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Part One: Seven Years and Women's Health


Have you ever heard the saying that says something about how we are completely different people every seven years? As I have not yet entered my third decade of being, it is safe to say I am experiencing this for the first time in my life. Seven years ago I was newly married, beginning my first official grown-up job (at which I would last three months before resigning) and still deeply mourning the loss of my Grandpa. I had yet to fully enter the tail-spin that his death would send me into, but the nightmares had begun and I was desperately trying to figure out how to be married.

It is difficult to believe that he has been gone for that long. The last time that I saw him alive was on my wedding day. He was the happiest I had ever seen him and while the fact that I did not make it home in time to see him before he died tortured me for a good year, I am now content remembering him as he was on that day.

As for the other life altering event seven years ago, I am still trying to figure out how to be married! It is much less desperate these days, and more exciting with the addition of the offspring.  There are challenges of course, but our marriage definitely benefited from aging nearly five years before our first child was born. When I get to thinking about it, I am barely recognizable in some ways to me before motherhood even.

When I was pregnant with my son, I decided that I wanted to have an unmedicated hospital birth. I knew there would be pain, but that it would be the best kind of pain. I wanted to have him naturally and feel the end of the pregnancy turning into his birth. As my due date neared and I looked as though there were triplets arm-wrestling inside of me, I began to panic. I was having trouble fitting into any of my maternity clothes and the heartburn and leg cramps were horrendous. At my 39 week check-up, I was armed with a plan to convince my doctor that I could not wait any longer to give birth: I was going to cry. I had my charts in hand and I was going to show him that he obviously had read them wrong the first time and I had to be overdue by now. I walked in and the first four words he said to me were “Let’s talk about induction.” I nearly cried I was so relieved. It was a Monday and we set it up for Wednesday. I went home to go to class for the last time. Two minutes before class started he called to tell me there had been a mistake made and I could not be induced until Sunday. Then I cried.

Sunday meant I was overdue by a day. I was ready to have my baby and find out which name we had spent hours choosing would apply. 27 hours after the induction began it was as though seven years had passed: I was a hollow shell of my former self and began lashing out at everyone except my doctor about how tight the damn BP cuff was. When it began to tighten after the three second break I had between contractions, I could not take anymore. I had not eaten in over a day and I just couldn’t hang in there any longer. My son Calvin was born via c-section and the feelings of defeat did not last very long after I joyfully held him for the first time. The anger returned an hour later when they still would not let me eat. It resurfaced again the next day when they wouldn’t let me have chocolate cake.

(I would like to take a moment to tell you all how much I truly LOVED my OB. He is wonderful and would have seen me through any path I would have chosen. He was absolutely not eager for the cesarean to take place, and he spent the first five minutes of each follow-up with me apologizing profusely for how things ended up. He is truly one of the good ones and if I could have packed him up to move across the country with us whilst pregnant with our second child, I would have done so. )

Without much detail, I had a c-section with my daughter as well. They still would not let me eat. The food was terrible, and I really was uncomfortable with the hospital in general, with the exception of my OB.  So less than three years after the birth of my first child, I look back on my birth stories, and can’t help but think, “Who the hell was making those choices?!” In less than half of the seven year span, I have begun researching c-section rates with induction, VBA2Cs, and countless other related topics to prepare myself for the next time we are pregnant. With a few years of motherhood under my belt, I never would have made the decision to induce, regardless of my comfort level.

My long and drawn out point for this portion of the story is that I am incredibly grateful that who I am changes with every passing day. I am still me. My values and beliefs may have adjusted slightly, but they have deepened. I am capable of things today that I would never have been capable of seven years ago. I am also dropping down on my knees thanking the Lord that I am not clairvoyant, psychic or capable of seeing my future with any sort of clarity or accuracy.