Tag Archives: motherhood

Unsung Lullabies: National Infertility Awareness Week

NOTE: Last year, I wrote an essay about infertility, miscarriage, and infant death. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week®, a nationwide campaign intended to educate the public about infertility and the concerns of the infertility community. In honor of the campaign, I reposted my “Unsung Lullabies” essay.


I’ll never forget the day I realized I was ignorant in my belief that having a baby is one of the simplest and most entitled acts in the world. My husband’s cousin Michael and his wife Tina were days away from delivering their first child and we were all excited for little Emma’s arrival. Then, in an instant, excitement turned to grief. Through a series of frantic phone calls and bits of information left on voicemails, we learned that the unthinkable had happened and Emma didn’t survive.

The aftermath was as sad and confusing as you might imagine. Even more than the trips to the hospital and the funeral, my most vivid memory is of watching the frenetic activity around me from within a cocoon of numbness. I felt like I was floating through a strange world that had spontaneously filled with uncertainty and betrayal. You see, I was just 25 at the time and Jason and I had begun conversations about starting a family. Those happy conversations were safely protected by what I thought was impenetrable hope. I had never known anyone who had suffered a miscarriage or lost a child in this manner and the only thought in my head for days on end was, “How can this happen?” Sure, childbirth USED to be serious business back in the day, but not now!

What I didn’t realize at the time was that modern technology has its limits. The reality is that pregnancies still end and babies still don’t make it. When I got pregnant with Bailey, I began to hear the stories I had been shielded from previously. Multiple miscarriages without any knowledge of the reason. Miscarriages at 16 weeks – long after the “safe” 12th week. Planning for months, even years, for a baby that inexplicably hasn’t become reality. Premature babies spending months in the hospital. In short, I became aware of a whole world of heartache I never knew existed.

While the list of women’s issues is long, few matters have remained closer to the hearts of women throughout time than the ability to create life. While some of us have always envisioned our lives with a gaggle of kiddos running around, others have taken steps along the way to preserve a life free from that responsibility, either temporarily or permanently. And, of course, the debate about abortion and reproductive rights wages on to this day. Regardless of the path we choose individually, we collectively have a stake in the reproduction game.  Continue reading Unsung Lullabies: National Infertility Awareness Week

The Great Bikini Debate

I know plenty of women who hyperventilate at the mere thought of a bikini. I’ve always worn one and never thought much about it. However, on a recent trip to a family resort, I thought I was going to have a panic attack at the very sight of an itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, yellow polka dot bikini.

Okay, so it wasn’t yellow but the rest is accurate.

My anxiety had nothing to do with my own body image, but that I saw this particular bikini on the body of a little girl not much older than my second grader. And then I saw another, and another. In fact, there were miniscule pieces of fabric covering pre-teen bodies everywhere I looked. The experience made me look at my own little girl with more fear than I’ve felt before in my life; I seriously thought I might assume the fetal position and start clawing my skin while murmuring over and over again “I’m not ready!”

Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that this is a controversial subject and I make no claims or judgments about the decisions of others or the intentions of any little girl wearing a bikini. I actually witnessed a fairly nasty Facebook debate on the topic which ended with name calling and husbands defending the integrity and parenting skills of their wives. As a passive observer, I could sympathize with both sides but the reality is that it won’t be too long before I’m going to have to manage expectations about what is appropriate for swimwear, in addition to a host of other choices.

My daughter, Bailey, is a seven year-old LITTLE girl, yet there are so many images and messages encouraging her to grow up way too quickly. From the kiddie lingerie (gross) and high-heeled shoes you now see in your local stores to the fashion-focused, halter top-wearing Bratz dolls, it’s very hard to keep them doing and wearing age-appropriate things. In my opinion, how we dress is a reflection of both how we feel about ourselves and what we want others to think about us. And, I hate to think about some of the thoughts that may have been directed toward those girls I saw on vacation. Continue reading The Great Bikini Debate

You Can’t Handle the Tooth!

Every parent knows the drill.  Kid loses tooth (usually in a dramatic 3-part episode building up to a bloody, dangling tooth hanging on by a thread before the parent steps in to put the tooth out of its misery).  Kid quickly trades tears for excitement over an anticipated visit from the Tooth Fairy.  Parent helps kid write a special note to Her Highness O’ Teeth and they place the tooth and note under kid’s pillow.  The next morning, kid rejoices at his/her newfound riches, ditches the tooth, and lives happily ever after.

Having a six-year-old means we’re in the thick of the tooth-losing stage.  We’ve effortlessly moved through the above steps seven times thus far.  But tooth #8 proved to be a bit problematic.  In short, Bailey lost her tooth and then actually LOST her tooth, so there was no evidence to leave for the Tooth Fairy. Continue reading You Can’t Handle the Tooth!

Rylee’s Last Batch of School Cookies: The Art of Embedding an Essential Memory

“We’re like bookends,” I thought. “Michael’s musings over how sweetly tender a small moment like blow-drying a baby’s hair can be; my musings over my bowl of peanut butter cookie dough at 7:30 a.m.”

The bowl of peanut butter cookie dough was the “last batch of school cookies” I would be making my youngest. I was baking them yesterday, as she got dressed for her last official day of instruction at the Academy of Hair Design. And, I was working very hard on trying to force-feed my memory embedding system with some sort of signal that would capture this moment and freeze it, or perhaps bronze it, for posterity.

I reached down to grab my heavy duty, several-ply stainless steel half baking sheet that I love so much. I hesitated, and instead opted for a small, flimsy baking sheet I knew had come with a toaster oven from a marriage gift twenty-five years ago. I wanted to make sure that the equipment I was using honored the entire nineteen and one-half years of my daughter’s existence. Continue reading Rylee’s Last Batch of School Cookies: The Art of Embedding an Essential Memory

I Hope My DIDs Exceed My DIDN’Ts

On the heels of Mother’s Day, I have been reflecting on my journey as a mother.  Before I had children I thought I knew what sort of mother I would be. There was no question that I’d do everything exactly right, using both book knowledge and God-given intuition to raise perfect little angels.

Then I gave birth.

Most of us who’ve traveled down the motherhood road would agree that it’s the hardest job there is.  The confident and easy decisions are few compared to the mountain of “I’m not sure” moments which leave you questioning both your abilities and the likelihood your offspring might end up on an episode of “Intervention” talking about where the dysfunction began.

I haven’t been a perfect mom, this I know for certain.  But, I’ve been me and that means my kids get a little bad with hopefully a lot of good.  I will not bore you with ALL my thoughts on the subject, but I wanted to share a few points about how hopefully the bad isn’t so bad and the good is really great.

On one hand….

I did not avoid soft cheeses and diet coke when you were in my tummy.  I had faith that my vices wouldn’t lead to the growth of a third hand…..and I sure am glad I was right.

I did not boil the binky every time you dropped it.  It would have been your lucky day if I even ran it under the faucet or wiped it off with my own shirt.

I did not nurse you for one year, but barely made it a couple of months.  I will admit I’ve never felt more like a failure than the day I called it quits.  In other news, you did not care one way or another.

I did not choose to forgo a career to stay at home with you full time.  I struggle with this daily, but I’m also proud of my accomplishments at work AND at home. Continue reading I Hope My DIDs Exceed My DIDN’Ts