Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What Might Have Been

When my husband asked me to marry him, it was obviously because I was pregnant. There was no other reason for a couple to get engaged after only six months of dating on a quiet, college campus, right? I dealt with the looks and the questions for months. When nine months had passed and there was no baby, we were a month into our life as a married couple. The question of "when are you due?" turned into "When are you having kids?" After four years of putting on a brave "don't fuck with me" smile and answering, "I am a barren wasteland." every time the question came up, I stopped hiding behind the five year plan, and resorted to trying Clomid. I was nervous and scared. I did not want to be faced with the reality that I may indeed be a barren wasteland. 

To my surprise, we achieved pregnancy on the first cycle. My OB was a kind and wise man: he ordered blood work as soon as I could get in. I spent my adoration hours in joyous tears. I saw the heart beat. Around seven weeks, my hormone levels were not increasing at the appropriate speed. I started progesterone shots. At eight weeks, while at a Christmas party, I miscarried. My OB had me go in the following Monday for an ultrasound, and the much wanted and loved speck that had been there a few weeks ago was gone, and all I saw was a big fat zero. I sat in the dark room and cried. Okay, I ugly cried and sobbed for a good fifteen minutes, called my husband, then my supervisor to tell her I wasn't coming to work, and then I ugly cried again. After a while, I gathered my things and put on my "No, I have not been bawling my eyes out, so stop looking at me." face and drove the hour from my doctor's office to my bed. 

Christmas was awful. I was sad, and drunk at times. To be honest, I even peed myself in our truck on one drunk night. I was really sad, and that might be the biggest understatement in the world. I cried every time I was alone. I cried when my OB handed me a bible passage as he shared in our loss and apologized for not being able to help. 

It is hard to know how to feel now. The mourning was constant for awhile, and then we were unexpectedly pregnant the next cycle with our oldest (living) son sans Clomid. I spent the first trimester (and every following first trimester) in a roller coaster of panic, terror, anxiety and joy. Early pregnancy announcements send me into a panic spiral. "What if something happens? Why are they telling everyone now? Don't they know how much it hurts to have to tell everyone when the baby is gone?!"

I think about that baby often. I think about how deeply sad it makes me to have never met my first child, but then it is painful to try to balance that with my love for my oldest child on earth, for I could not have had them both. It is a confusing sort of pain. 

So today, on this day of remembrance, I will think about that first heart beat that I watched on the monitor, and be grateful for the hope and joy that came with it. I will hold my children close: even those I did not get a chance to meet.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Thought Concerning Parenting

Some of my thoughts about parenting have creeped into this blog from time to time. It is hard to leave it out when I try to write about things our culture is doing wrong and how we go about changing it. I fortunately have a well-equipped spouse that shares many of these thoughts, and (so far) we are raising three children with success. That isn't to say that there aren't other successful ways (not a fan of the mommy wars) but it helps that I have someone else in my corner that not only loves my kids, has mostly the same parenting style, but he knows what Harrison Bergeron* means. Be still, my beating heart.

In the last 24 hours, I came across two very different Facebook shares. Here is the first:

Please due not sue. This was circulating on Facebook. I have no idea where it came from, though I certainly have some guesses.
I get that our generation has some new ideas about parenting. I get that some of these ideas are constructive, positive, and there might even be studies to back these ideas up. My own experiences as a child that had some different needs in the classroom make me bristle when I see something telling me there are words I should not be using with my children. I take no issue with the left or right side of this table. I do understand the thought process behind the middle column, but 'quick' is a 'judging word'?  Clever? Right? Great? I think we need to back up the train a minute. What happened to all of us being differently abled? What happened to humans being unique? What happened to different people being able to excel at different things? Many of the words in the middle column do not judge, but are mere descriptors. If you are quick, that can be helpful in some cases, but in others, being slow would be more helpful.  Why is it wrong to tell your child they performed a task quickly? 

Intelligent is another fine example. There are many kinds of intelligence. There are many ways for a child to be intelligent. I am not supposed to describe my child as intelligent for fear of what? I ask this question honestly. 

Then, tonight I saw this.  

St. Thérèse so eloquently puts into words what I want to say. We need all kinds of intelligence, beauty, quickness, slowness, cleverness, and amazing in this world. I don't want to avoid words with my children. I want them to have a deeper understanding of what they mean.

*"Harrison Bergeron" are the first two words that came to mind when I looked at the center column in the first photo. Maybe that is extreme, but I truly fear our culture will continue down the road of equating equality with sameness. I don't want that for my children, and I think a well-intentioned idea got away from the 'parenting experts' here.