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.

Shop Small. Buy Local. Do Good.

A few weeks ago I visited Linvilla Orchards, a kind of wonderland in the world of farm markets.  In addition to fresh, homegrown produce, fresh baked goods and locally produced products, they have an array of family activities that keep the children happy while visiting the farm.  My girls loved the train ride, petting zoo and playground and were totally tuckered out by the time we left.  While buying our goodies on our way out, my eyes were drawn to the Buy Fresh, Buy Local signage that was hanging all around the market.

BuyFreshBuyLocal

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Buy Local movement lately and this was just the push I needed to look into it further.  You see, though I have heard a variety of campaigns that push consumers to Buy Local, I never really paid attention to the reasons behind the campaigns.  Instinctively, it just seems “right” to buy from small, local businesses, but how do these campaigns compel you to do so?

The Buy Fresh Buy Local program’s goal is to make it easier for consumers to find, choose, and appreciate great local foods while supporting the farmers and lands that produce them.  If a store, restaurant or market features a Buy Fresh Buy Local® sign or label, the consumer can be certain that the business has committed to feature local foods and support local producers.  This is one of many programs across the nation that encourage consumers to purchase locally grown and produced foods.  Consumers who patronize local farm markets or restaurants that utilize local foods are directly supporting the local agriculture community.  Further, consumers who buy local produce are reducing their carbon footprint because locally grown fruits and vegetables require far less transportation than those shipped in from great distances.  So, get out there and buy some local produce.   I prefer farm markets or CSAs, but you can also shop the “Buy Local” section of your grocery store and support the movement too.

Shop Small

Shop Small (Photo credit: afagen)

The Buy Local movement stretches well beyond agriculture though and encompasses small business in general.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Small Business Saturday. Conceived by American Express in 2010, it is a “shopping holiday” on the equivalent of Black Friday for big box retailers and Cyber Monday for e-commerce retailers.   Small Business Saturday’s purpose is to drive consumers to local business in an effort to help stimulate the local economy.  Small Business Saturday has morphed into a Shop Small movement that encourages local shopping all year round (though I am sure there will still be a push for that Saturday after Thanksgiving.)   This makes sense.  After all, these businesses need to pay their employees and keep the lights on throughout the year, not just during the shopping season.

Still, I wanted some cold hard facts about why this is an important movement to get behind.  Here is what I found on ELocal.

– Throughout the United States, only about 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8% return from local businesses. (2009)

– A study in Austin, Texas found that $100 spent at a local bookstore produced $45 worth of local economic activity, and $100 at the chain store Borders brought back only $13.

– National chains often bring loss of employment. The opening of a Wal-Mart reduces retail employment by an average of 150 jobs in the county of its location.

– If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy.

These numbers are pretty compelling.  Small businesses create local jobs.  Small businesses return more money to the local economy than larger chain retailers.  Small businesses are more likely to be active members of the community, supporting local causes and participating in local events.  And, in patronizing small businesses, you are supporting your neighbors who work there or the family that owns it.  Shop Small.  Buy Local. Do Good.   Now that is a campaign I can get behind.

How does small business fit into your life?  Do you work for one?  Shop at one?  Tell me about it!

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

Everyone needs encouragement sometimes.   A fellow blogger has come up with a fun and easy way to offer it.  Found Hello has launched a movement and I love everything about it.  All you need is a pen, post-it note and kind words and you can spread joy to others.    The note begins with a simple word: hello.  Next comes the inspirational or kind words you want to share and you finish with a link to the Found Hello blog.   Don’t forget to connect with The Do-Gooder Mama and Found Hello on Twitter and let us know how you have done with this week’s challenge!

My note is ready to go!

My note is ready to go!

 

The Challenge:  Leave a hello. note for someone to find.  Want to take it to the next level?  Do this daily for the next week or longer!  

 

Random Act of Kindness Weekly Challenge

Today’s Challenge: Remember and honor.  Remember the tragedies that have made our hearts ache and honor the victims by appreciating the people in your life.    And, if you have the means, contribute to help victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes.

How To Help Oklahoma Recover – UPDATE

I am watching CNN and in shock at the devastation that Mother Nature inflicted on Oklahoma.  As a mother, my heart aches for the children who lost their lives at their school today and for their families who have to move forward and pick up the pieces of their lives.  So many lives, young and old, lost.  So many homes destroyed.  So much still unknown about the extent of the damage.  As an American, I know it is my responsibility to take care of my fellow citizens in their time of need.  Do you feel the same?  Here are some ways that you can help:

1.  Support the American Red Cross

  • Text REDCROSS to 90999  to donate $10 to Disaster Relief efforts
  • Donate Online
  • Donate by phone – 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Donate blood

2.  Support the Salvation Army – mobilizing mobile kitchens to feed 2500

  • Text STORM to 80888 to donate $10 to support Oklahoma Tornado Relief efforts
  • Donate Online

3.  Support Feeding America – pledged to deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to Oklahoma

  • Give a monetary donation
  • Donate food to a local food bank

4.  Support Operation USA – mobilizing to help Oklahoma’s community health organizations and schools recover

5.  Support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

  • Donate Online
  • Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10

UPDATE:  There are more and more organizations that are mobilizing to help with the recovery and rebuilding efforts and they are detailed below.  One of my readers made the point that if you want your donation to only be used for Oklahoma Tornado Relief, you should designate this on the donation form to be sure.  Go forth friends and do what you can to help the great citizens of Oklahoma in their time of need.  By sacrificing lunch out today and texting your $10 donation, you can make a difference.

6.  Global Giving Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund – Raising funds for immediate relief and long-term rebuilding efforts

  • Donate Online
  • Text OK to 80088 to donate $10 to the Relief Fund

7.  United Way of Central Oklahoma – Distributing funds to local non-profits organizing disaster relief and rebuilding programs in local communities

  • Donate Online
  • By Mail: United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK  73101
  • **Be sure to designate donation to the May Tornado Relief.

8.  Team Rubicon Operation: Starting Gun – Mobilizing volunteers to help assess damages and expedite home repairs

9. World Vision – Disaster response team is loading trucks with supplies and mobilizing volunteers to deploy

Screenshot_2013-05-20-22-09-03

Together we can help Oklahoma rebuild and recover.  What will you do to be a part of the recovery?

How to Help Oklahoma Recover

I am watching CNN and in shock at the devastation that Mother Nature inflicted on Oklahoma.  As a mother, my heart aches for the children who lost their lives at their school today and for their families who have to move forward and pick up the pieces of their lives.  So many lives, young and old, lost.  So many homes destroyed.  So much still unknown about the extent of the damage.  As an American, I know it is my responsibility to take care of my fellow citizens in their time of need.  Do you feel the same?  Here are some ways that you can help:

1.  Support the American Red Cross

  • Text REDCROSS to 90999  to donate $10 to Disaster Relief efforts
  • Donate Online
  • Donate by phone – 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • Donate blood

2.  Support the Salvation Army – mobilizing mobile kitchens to feed 2500

  • Text STORM to 80888 to donate $10 to support Oklahoma Tornado Relief efforts
  • Donate Online

3.  Support Feeding America – pledged to deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to Oklahoma

  • Give a monetary donation
  • Donate food to a local food bank

4.  Support Operation USA – mobilizing to help Oklahoma’s community health organizations and schools recover

5.  Support the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma

  • Donate Online
  • Text FOOD to 32333 to donate $10

Screenshot_2013-05-20-22-09-03

It is simple to give and there is so much need in Oklahoma tonight.  Won’t you do your part?