On Prejudices and Infertility

Day 27:  Today, I am thinking prejudice and discrimination after reading “My Life as a White Hispanic:  Prejudice Comes From All Sides.” Written by Kimberly Helminski Keller on her blog, Roadkill Goldfish, it is an incredibly thoughtful account of her life as a multiracial individual.  She is both Polish and Puerto Rican and has never fit neatly into either culture, yet both are important to her identity.  I will not attempt to tell her story – she tells it eloquently and I would only butcher it.  But I will ask you to go read it yourself.  As for me, I am white.  My husband is white.  My kids are white.  I have never known how it feels for myself or a family member to be a target of discrimination based on race or ethnicity.   And yet, I know how frequently individuals experience discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age.   I believe, like Martin Luther King, Jr, that people should be judged, not on the color of their skin (or ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation), but “by the content of their character.” I try to live my life by this creed and I hope that I am teaching my children to do the same.  I wrote recently about a time that my oldest daughter pointed at a girl on the playground and said, “Hey Mom!  Look!  Her skin is brown.”  It was really uncomfortable for a second, but then I realized that this represented an opportunity for me as mom.  This was a teachable moment.  I seized the moment and responded, “Yes Josie.  That’s what is beautiful about people.  We come in all different skin colors.  Isn’t that wonderful?  The world would be a really boring place if we all looked the same and spoke the same language and dressed the same, don’t you think?”  And she responded with a simple, “Yep,” and then ran off to play with the little girl.  How we respond as parents in the moments when race or ethnicity or any other “difference” is raised will help shape our children’s perspectives for years to come.   I’ll leave you with a quote from the song Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, “I might not be the same but that’s not important; No freedom til we’re equal; Damn right I support it.”  It’s a powerful song, with a powerful anti-discrimination message.  And, for the record, yes, I support marriage equality too.

 

 

Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy.

Belly of a woman in her 34th week of pregnancy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 28: I am one of those women who really enjoyed being pregnant.  I embraced the changes in my body and focused on the miracle that was happening inside my belly.  It still astounds me that I grew 2 little human beings inside of me and that they are thriving, healthy children today.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  The human body is remarkable.  As I think about my pregnancies, I am so thankful that I was able to experience this miracle without incredible difficulty.  We were fortunate enough to get pregnant quickly once we set our minds to it and engaged the help of an ovulation detector.  Sure, we’d been trying for our first for some time, but we were just having fun trying.  When it came to the point that we were really trying,  it happened in the first month and actually caught us by surprise.  The second time around, it was a bit harder, which, again, caught us by surprise.  I incorrectly assumed since it happened so quickly the first time, it would be easy the second time too.  It took 9 months of trying to conceive our 2nd daughter.  After 3 months, I started charting my fertility which entailed taking my temperature with a special thermometer every morning before I moved out of bed and using ovulation prediction kits, among other things.  By 6 months I had visited my doctor and shared my charts which showed there might be an issue.  Then I had a chemical pregnancy.  Pregnant one day and bleeding the next.  After that, I started on a progesterone supplement after I ovulated and, finally, Lily was conceived.  It felt like forever to get to that day, but that is just a drop in the bucket compared to the experience of millions of other women.  According to the CDC, 10.9%, or 6.7 million women ages 15-44 have an impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term.  That’s why, when I read IVF Made Me a Better Person at Teacher to Mum, I felt compelled to share it.  The infertility journey is a mystery to many of us, and an intense and often isolating journey for mother and father to be.  This post, written years after a successful IVF cycle, provides insight into the journey and hope for those in the midst of struggling with infertility.  To some, infertility is stigmatized.  It is not something to talk about.  It is a secretive process.  But I think the women and men who do anything within their power to have a child are courageous, inspiring and should be celebrated.   Let’s talk about this openly.  Let’s make it easier and more affordable for couples who desperately want to be parents to achieve pregnancy.  Let’s give these couples a chance to love a child.  Visit Resolve, The National Infertility Association to learn more about how to support the Family Act.  Introduced in May, The Family Act of 2013, (S 881/HR 1851) will help thousands of people access medical treatment for infertility that otherwise would be out of reach for them due to lack of insurance coverage. RESOLVE supports this bill and needs your help getting this bill passed and made into a law.  You can quickly send a message to your Senators and Congressmen from this page.

Three Weeks. Twenty-One Blogs.

The giant Liberty Bell replica at Citizens Ban...

The giant Liberty Bell replica at Citizens Bank Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Day 19: I am watching the 11 o’clock news broadcast, specifically the sports segment.  The Phillies have played 3 games in between yesterday and today and all three games went to extra innings, some kind of history.  Simultaneously, I searched the WordPress Reader for Top Stories and happened upon The 700 Level, a Philadelphia sports blog.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This is not my typical subject matter, but that is what this reading challenge is all about.  My husband is a die-hard Phillies Phan. Yes, I spelled that incorrectly on purpose.  He loves this team and they drive him crazy.  And then he drives me crazy.  Don’t get me wrong, the Phillies are my team, but my day is not ruined if they lose.  The truth is, I love to see the Phillies win, but I cannot be bothered to sit and watch every game on TV, much to The Hubs’ chagrin. If we could see every game in person and enjoy the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the ballpark, I’d be so into the Phillies I might permanently tattoo their logo on my body. But, with two young girls who permanently have “ants in their pants,” going to a Phillies game is not in our immediate future.  So, the smell and taste of Dollar Dog Days will have to wait.  The sound of the crack of the bat against the ball and the subsequent roar of the crowd will have to wait.  The beauty of the stadium – the vibrant green field, the neon-lighted Liberty Bell, the city skyline in the distance – will have to wait.  But, in the meantime, I can keep up on my Philly sports news via The 700 Level, a good second option.  What is “your” team?  Tell me how being a Fan impacts your life!

 

Day 20: Have you ever had a moment of panic when you couldn’t find your child?  It happened to me in Target one day about a year ago when Josie playfully ran off and I lost sight of her.  My heart pounded, my eyes filled with tears, my voice cracked as I called out for her to come back to me.  Thankfully, within 30 seconds she was in my arms and I hugged her tight, delaying the lecture for a moment to savor her.   I cannot imagine what 5 minutes must feel like, but Stacey at EarthChicKnits knows that feeling and she is using her blog to help spread awareness about an unknown peril that beach goers face.  Have you heard of sandhole collapses?  If not, you need to grab a box of tissues and read Stacey’s post.  Or this current article about another instance of the sand swallowing a child.  Her post resonated with me since my family is about to embark on a shore vacation and because my brother’s family vacations regularly in the stretch of beach where her tale of horror and wonder unfurled. If there is ever a chance to ensure a higher level of safety and security for my children, I will take it.  In this case, I took it and now I am passing it on.

Kids take turns jumping in the air and into a ...

Kids take turns jumping in the air and into a big hole which might have been the moat of a sand castle on Cayucos State Beach. (Photo credit: mikebaird)

Day 21:  Today, I stumbled upon a post titled: This Ain’t No Oprah’s Book Club.  Reading the post I was instantly reminded of the feeling of connectivity that I feel when amongst other smart and sassy women who have come together to discuss a book, and probably a lot of off-topic subject matter too.   I found a really wonderful book club when we moved to Connecticut and it became the source of our social life.  A small group of women began to socialize outside of of book club and then we invited the husbands to join.  Soon, we all became mothers  were able to have “mommy and me” lunches and play dates as our children got older.  Without the book club, I would never have met some of my closest friends, with whom I remain close despite the distance that now lies between us.  This is the beauty of book clubs.  Sure, they encourage thoughtful reading, discussion and exploration of books you may not have chosen for yourself.  But they also give birth to new friendships and create a sense of belonging and community among the members.  This is such a gift, particularly in adulthood when there are not well-defined paths to new friendships and particularly when, as I did, you move to a new place and know not a soul.  Do you belong to a book club?  What role does it play in your life?

Want to join the challenge?  Grab the image and start reading!  It’s that simple and never to late to get started.

 

On Life, Adolescence, Coffee and Goodbyes

I’ve completed 2 weeks of the Do Good Summer Reading Challenge.  I’ve discovered fourteen wonderful blogs and have been inspired to write on topics that I never would have had reason to before.   I am growing my network and contributing to the truly vibrant blogging community here on Worpress and beyond.  Interested in joining?  It’s never too late.  Click the image on the right to find out how!

Day 11:  I took the holiday off, but discovered this gem on Friday and think it will stick with me for a lifetime.  Clare at Grace and Poise shared with her readers 40 Little Instructions on Life and they are so valuable they needed to be shared.  Clare’s list is simple, yet inspiring.  I frequently talk to my girls about using manners, being kind and the such, and this list is yet another tool in my box for teaching my girls how to live happy, fulfilled lives.  Some of my favorites include:

“Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Leave everything a little better than you found it.”

“Think big thoughts but relish simple pleasures.”

“Don’t expect life to be fair”

If you want to read the whole list, you’ll have to visit Grace and Poise!

Day 12:  On today’s hop around the blog-o-sphere, I visited The Waiting.  Emily has one of the coolest “About” pages I’ve seen and her writing draws you in.  Her most current post is part of a Blog Hop called “Remember The Time When We Did The Things.”  As I understand it, the blog hop will have a different theme each Thursday and audience participation is encouraged.  I happened upon the week about summer vacation.  So, in the spirit of participation, I must share some embarrassing stories from summer vacations of yore.  My family loves to tell the story of the time that I galloped down a hillside somewhere in California to pee on the side of the road.  The details are fuzzy.  We were in a van (I think) and on a road trip to Lake Tahoe (I think) and I had to pee like I’d never had to pee before or since.  I was maybe 11 or so and there was not a bathroom in sight.  Despite my pleading, nobody wanted to stop until I started crying (I think).  When the powers that be finally decided to stop the van, I “galloped like a gazelle” (straight from the mouth of my cousin) down the hillside, much to the delight and entertainment of everyone in the van, and relieved myself, hopefully out of the view of my parents, uncle, brother and cousins.  Ahhh, the fond memories I have of summer road trips.   What are your “classic” summer memories?

Zebra Garden
Day 13: Can a cup of coffee create positive change in the world? Sharman at 365 Cups of Kindness is on a mission to find out and I think she is onto something.   Her idea, to buy a random person a cup of coffee every day for a year, came to her shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  As a school principal, she was deeply affected by the shooting.  When shopping the next day for a gift for her church’s toy drive, she was appalled by the rudeness and hostility shown by the other shoppers and began to wonder if anyone practiced kindness and compassion anymore.   When finished shopping she and her husband stopped at Starbucks, and spontaneously she gave the cashier $20 to pay for coffees for those behind her and the idea for her blog was born.  Now, she has purchased 157 cups of coffee for others and, though each one is special, she writes that Cup 157 may be her favorite.  This particular cup led to a conversation with a man who was truly grateful and whose story is quite inspiring.  Won’t you join me in spreading her kindness further?  Next time you are in line for coffee, think about buying one for the person behind you.  A small kindness goes a long way!

Cup of coffee

Cup of coffee (Photo credit: Etenil)

Day 14: I was incredibly close with my Granny and she passed suddenly one night 10 years ago.  She was not sick.  There was no warning.  I have debated in my mind a 1000 times whether it would have been better for her to go as she did, suddenly, or to have had an illness that forewarned us of her impending death.   On selfish days, I wish that she had been ill and that I could have told her how much I loved her, how important our relationship was to me, that she would always hold a piece of my heart, that I was so sad she would never meet my husband or children, that life without her in it scared me.  But, on my more rational days, I know that she passed in the way that caused her the least amount of suffering.  I would not have wanted her to suffer.  My memories of my Granny’s death were brought to the surface when I read The First Goodbye at Living Life to the Fullest From the End Stage.  Mike has terminal brain cancer and is sharing his thoughts and experiences through his blog.  This particular one is on a topic that is so difficult – saying goodbye to your child.  He writes that no parent should have to say the words “I know we will probably not see each other again” to their child and goes on to tell the story of how he had to say goodbye to his eldest daughter who lives away from home.  This post is full of raw emotion and you should definitely grab a tissue before reading it.  

Pick Up a Ghabit

Light switch in the bathroom

Light switch in the bathroom (Photo credit: anotherpioneer)

Pick Up a Ghabit: Ghabit is short for Green Habit and is the creation of Milesh Jain, aka Dr. Ghabit. I love this concept of empowering children to be active participants in preserving the environment. By simply establishing a habit of turning out the lights upon leaving a room or walking to and from school, your children can be proud that they’ve reduced their carbon footprint and are actively helping the environment. So, get your family together and pick up a Ghabit. Carry a bag on your walks to collect litter, turn off the lights, use less water, walk more and drive less, the possibilities are endless and Mother Earth will thank you.

via Do-Gooder Kids Activities.

Day 2: This Mama is Keeping it Real

I needed a laugh tonight.  It had been my intention to post my Do Good Summer Reading Challenge post each morning and here it is 9:30 PM and I am just now getting to it.  Josie was up at 5:50 AM.  Here is the official SHOUT OUT to The Hubs for getting up with her.  I got to stay in bed with my little Lily who joined us at around 3:30 AM.  But, by 7 AM the household was buzzing and and by the time we left for school at 9:00 AM, I knew Josie was going to be a BEAR today.  On top of getting up at 5:50 AM, she also did not go to sleep until 10 PM last night.  So, while she normally gets 11 hours of sleep a night, she only got a little less than 8.  Not good for an already moody nearly 4 year old.  After school, she was exhausted and unwilling to take a nap.  So I laid with her for an hour while she cried and finally she dozed off.  But by that time, it was 2:35 PM and there was no way she could sleep past 3:30 PM.  Do you see where this is going?  I set her little pink alarm clock that she picked out at Target and it started buzzing at 3:30 PM and then I lovingly stroked her face and hugged her and welcomed her back to the world of the awake.  But, my Josie is not a happy person when she is awoken before her time and she proceeded to scream for another 40 minutes or so.  Only this time, the screaming ignited a hissy fit from her sister too.  As I repeated my mantra, “This Too Shall Pass” in my mind, I tried to think fast.  I knew she was just tired and cranky and I also GetAttachment.aspxknew that if I didn’t get a moment of silence, I was going to lose it.  So, I said let’s go to the mall and buy that new underwear you were asking for.  Within a minute, the waterworks had stopped, Josie had her shoes on and was helping Lily into hers.  So yes, not my proudest moment as a Mama and not the kind of behavior I typically reward, but Josie got her Days of the Week Underwear from Old Navy and Mommy got her peace and quiet.

That was a long digression, but I do feel better having gotten that off my chest.  So first, thank you for listening.  Second, you will now better understand why I felt a sense of camaraderie with The Mama at keepingitreal4mamas.  I was searching WordPress for humor tags and I read a couple, but this one spoke to me.  You see, The Mama’s latest post is about how she can claim victory (at least for this moment) in getting her child to take a bottle.  I like that she saw the humor in the situation – it is necessary as a mom to be able to step back and laugh at yourself sometimes.  But I also like that she is airing her dirty and clean laundry to help first-time moms survive the first year.  No matter how much you read, you are always surprised by something in your first year (or maybe 10) of motherhood, but this mama is attempting to help other moms feel “normal.”

I experienced a child who would not take a bottle and it is a hell I would not wish on any other mama.  Kudos to moms who are perfectly happy to breastfeed exclusively, but I was a mama who would have given almost anything to have been able to hand a bottle to The Hubs, go out for a girls night and give my boobs a rest.  But my sweet, lovable, animated little Lily refused.  That is, she refused until 2 nights ago when, at 22 months, she found a bottle stuck in the back of a cabinet and decided she had to have it at bedtime.  Really?   I am embracing the humor in that tonight and hope you can too.  lily bottle

Want to join the Do Good Read More Summer Challenge?  Click here to find out how.

Reading Challenge Starts Monday!

final sum read chall

Summer Reading Challenge Rules:

  1. Display the Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge Image on your website and link it back to this post.
  2. Read one blog that you have never visited each day from June 24th – August 18th. Explore other blogging platforms, click on suggested posts, ask others for suggestions – the only rule is that the blog must be “new to you.”
  3. Leave a comment for each of the bloggers whom you have discovered. You can offer support and constructive criticism or share knowledge and ideas.
  4. Share the blogs you have discovered in any way you see fit. Blog daily, compile weekly lists, or write a “This is How I Spent My Summer” post sharing all the links.

Follow these rules and by the end of the summer, you will have connected with 56 new bloggers and your exposure will have grown considerably. Better yet, you will be supporting your fellow writers who, like you, take the time and have the courage to share their thoughts and ideas with world using blogging as their medium.

via Do Good, Read More Summer Reading Challenge.

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge 6.19.2013

This week’s challenge was inspired by another blogger who is documenting her bucket list journey.  Christine at Project Light to Life recently posted about how she found $6.00 on the floor at the mall and went on to leave $5.00 at the Disney Store where she hoped a child would find it.  I hope that a child did find it, because I can just picture the delight on his face at the discovery, can’t you?  I am sure that there was a pit in his stomach, the nervous excitement that comes with unexpected good fortune, as he told his parents about the discovery, all the while hoping he’d get to keep the money.   To find money as an adult is exciting,but to find money as a child is thrilling, don’t you think?

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors.

Group of five happy children jumping outdoors. (Photo credit: Lighttruth)

The Challenge:  Brighten a child’s day by leaving money with a note encouraging kindness where a child will find it.

There are so many ways you can accomplish this and I encourage you to be creative, but in case you are looking for concrete ideas, read on.  The amount of your “kindness donation” is up to you.  Do you have a ton of spare change around?  Fill a baggie with coins.  Do you want to really thrill a child?  Leave a nice, crisp $20 bill for one to find.  I’d suggest leaving your “kindness donation” at a playground, sports field, toy store, pool or community center.  Not sure what to write?  Here are some ideas:

  • “A gift from me to you, out of the kindness of my heart.  Remember, kindness counts.”
  • “Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” Henry David Thoreau
  • “From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” Arthur Ashe