Home

Ugly Word

2 Comments

I have had four abortions.

I felt the air pressure change from the collective in sucking of breath you readers just performed.

Miscarriages, pregnancy loss, ectopic pregnancies–on paper they are labelled as abortions.

It was a punch in the gut when I saw this.

I don’t think I consider myself pro-life or pro-choice. At least not in the framework of the political world by which the word abortion has been adopted.

It, simply, just isn’t that simple.

But this isn’t really a political post. At least, I don’t envision what I have to say as being political. But, then, nowadays, everything seems to be tinged with politics whether you really want it to be or not.

This is a post about personal experience with the word abortion and how the word has been reduced.

I have lived in a world where abortion was associated with women who didn’t want their babies. And their right to not want their babies was protected. That is how I saw the word.

Then I had abortions. . .spontaneous abortions, missed abortions. . .and I realized that the word is not that at all.

Like many words its complexities run much deeper and wider than we give credit. We have allowed the word to mean just one thing, and therefore, diminished it while also giving it this incredible power. Talk about paradoxical. Now this word divides families, communities, countries.

It is an ugly word. No matter what, its meaning is ugly. I lost four lives that started within me. Abortion…the tiny babies, the hope of the future, the imagined lives, the joy, the innocence. And though that is exactly the ugly word that describes my experiences on my medical charts, I am not allowed to call it that in conversation because it no longer fits the narrow definition to which a complex word has been reduced.

My body did it four times. Three of those four times, my body needed medical assistance so that I would not die as well.

Or the life I live now would have been aborted.

Twelve Pounds Heavy

1 Comment

Thirty years ago my tenth grade PE teacher told me I should lose 12 pounds. I was five foot almost ten inches and weighed 162 pounds. I remember this precisely because it made the numbers “pretty”.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I didn’t need to lose any weight.

But I have managed to pinpoint that exact moment as to when the number started to carry weight.

He was a teacher. Surely, he knew what he was talking about.

And I have spent the better part of the last thirty years chasing that twelve pounds. When will the number be “pretty” enough? When will the PE teacher in my head not say that?

The truth is the PE teacher will never stop saying it. But I can stop listening to him. I can stop giving him so much power. He was a jerk to say that to me. {Honestly, he was a jerk for a lot of other reasons, too–nothing illegal or immoral, please don’t misunderstand. Just a jerk of a man.}

I thought about this moment often in my twenty years in the classroom. I think about it now when I talk to Peter. The power that man’s words had simply because of his position. I wonder how many students I inadvertently labeled myself as a jerk to because of an offhand comment. I wonder what kind of weight Peter is going to carry because of the things I say to him.

I mean, here I am thirty years later still trying to lose twelve pounds…ok, it’s more than twelve pounds now and I do really need to shed the weight for my health. But caring about the specific number, that is what a sophomore encounter did.

Weighty.

Be More Like Peter

2 Comments

Peter my toddler, not Peter of Biblical text. Though, that may not be a bad goal either. And Peter the Toddler does have a temper.

Frustration encountered

Anyway, my point, because I do think I have one, is that the more I watch Peter the more I think I should be like him. He eats when he’s hungry. He stops when he’s full. He turns down food when he’s not hungry with no worries about causing offense. He sleeps when he’s tired and wakes up when he’s ready (Ok, that one is harder to do in a world that has become regulated by the almighty clock). He lets us know when he’s displeased and, equally, he lets us know when he’s pleased (I prefer that second one, but I’m impressed with the first one).

And when he’s overwhelmed, stressed, or frustrated he takes a “vacation.” Let me ‘splain. I just read a short article that used the acronym IMPROVE {the situation} for techniques to use when feeling stressed. The V stands for vacation. Basically, it advises removing yourself from whatever is causing the stress for even just a few moments if possible. Walk away from it.

Smiles returned

Peter does this. I don’t know where he learned it. Daniel Tiger? He doesn’t really walk away, but he’ll stop whatever it is he’s doing, lie on the floor, put his head on his hands or suck his thumb, and stay that way for 30 seconds to a minute. Then he gets up and goes back to what he was doing, usually able to complete whatever task was at hand.

I kid you not! It’s one of the most amazing things I get to see these days.

So, it leads me to ask, are children equipped with some innate ability that they can naturally handle these situations and somewhere along the line their wires get crossed? Cause I certainly don’t stop eating when I’m full.

Anniversaries

1 Comment

We like to keep anniversaries as happy memories. But as I age I have come to realize that many dates that stick in my mind are not necessarily attached to joyful events. I don’t know if everyone’s story does this same thing.

Today, if all had gone as predicted, would be Little’s fourth birthday. I find that almost unbelievable. But it’s true.

Eighteen month old Peter watches Sesame Street (he’s learning about turtles–brought to you by the letter T) as I contemplate this anniversary. I don’t have the right words to define my feelings this year. I think even the hard anniversaries can hold joy. They can most definitely emphasize any growth that has happened in the year; they can remind you of those who walked with you through suffering; they can show you the peace you have found moving forward. They can also give you that moment of remembrance, honoring, that may need to occur. Pause. Take a deep breath. Honor the feelings even if you can’t define them.

Advice–hmm?

3 Comments

In early January 2020 I participated in a trauma healing workshop. My goal, at the time, was to start a pregnancy loss support group. We didn’t know yet that Peter was coming.

In my notes from the workshop is this phrase:

Unasked for advice is often interpreted as criticism.

Wow! Let’s chew on that a while.

Dear Nugget, Five Years

1 Comment

Ago you changed our lives.

You have a little brother. Actually, you have at least two little brothers. And you have two more siblings in addition to that.

But I like to think you know. I also like to think that there’s a little of all four of you in him. That when I look at Peter he is wholly Peter, an individual in his own right who is the most amazing being who has ever been revealed to me. But he is also a little of all of you. That maybe you would have had similar smiles or eyes or laughs or sense of helpfulness or kindness.

Maybe it’s wrong that I do that. I don’t know. There isn’t really a rule book for me on this one.

When it occurred to me last night that today was five years, I struggled a bit to wrap my head around it. So short, yet so much time. You would be starting kindergarten in the fall, and honestly, I’m not sure how I would feel about that in this pandemic age. Not to mention just the mere fact that you would be old enough to start kindergarten. {Side note about your mother: when I was little, the school I attended called it 5K. There was a 3K and 4K as well. Some argue that 5K is redundant, but it’s not. Kindergarten means children garden–it’s devoid of age in translation. Anyway.}

When I consider the last five years, I see you in a lot of the choices we made. Maybe not directly. But you did make us evaluate what was important and how we wanted to live.

You changed everything.

And for that, I am grateful.

I am . . .

2 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about the wording “I am”. When I took Spanish in high school I distinctly remember the teacher explaining that there were two ways to say “I am”–estoy and soy. Estoy is something conditional while soy is a permanent characteristic.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Last night I decided to examine the verse in Exodus where God says to Moses “I AM WHO I AM.” (Ex. 3:14) According to my NIV study Bible, the Hebrew word translated earlier in verse 12 as “I will be” is the same word used in verse 14. So, it could be “I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE”. Further, my study Bible indicates that using this phrase emphasized that God’s character is one of dependability and faithfulness, therefore, soy.

As far as I can tell, English doesn’t have any of these distinctions. Am is simply the present tense first person of the infinitive “to be” and there is no other form of that particular word that may be translated differently. Therefore, listeners have to decode if “I am grumpy” means I am permanently like Oscar the Grouch or just feeling upset about current events and it will pass.

All this ruminating lead me to consider the proclamation “I am Christian.” And now my head is really spinning (lovely idiom).

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In one sense, it is very much a soy situation. I have proclaimed belief in Jesus Christ, son of Mary, as the son of God. He was crucified to pay the price for my separation from God the Creator, rose after three days, and sent the Holy Spirit to help guide me until I am reunited with the entire Trinity. That’s permanent. I have made the choice to claim that and it is part of my core belief.

But, in another sense, it’s very estoy. Because I don’t always make a Christian choice. I don’t always respond as a “little Christ.” I struggle with forgiveness. I struggle with humility. I struggle with love. I struggle with worry, and peace, and hope, and faith. And people around me could very easily say, “well, she isn’t a Christian” depending on what day or what situation they encounter me. My “am” appears conditional.

My best friend and I have been talking lately about how two things can be true at once. So it is with my Christianity. Much like yoga. . .I practice. Some days my downward dog has perfect form. Others, eh, not so much. But both days it’s still yoga. Some days I respond confidently in my Christianity. Others, eh, not so much.

But both days, I am a Christian.

In This World

2 Comments

Recently, or maybe not. . .time is so fluid, I saw a meme that said something to the effect that if the way a proclaimed Christian acts shakes your faith then your faith was in the wrong place.

That concept has been rattling around in my fragmented “mom brain” ever since. I’m careful about giving too much salt to things I scroll past in the social media world, but this one just keeps flavoring my thoughts. If I can’t look to those around me to help edify my faith, then what is faith?

Ah, there’s the rub.

I can reference Hebrews: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (11:1) {I find this a churchy response. . .the kind that often leaves me saying “but what does it MEAN?” For this one, I actually think CS Lewis gives a fantastic explanation with his character of Emeth in THE LAST BATTLE, book 7 of The Chronicles of Narnia.}

I am frustrated as I try to record my thoughts on this topic. Perhaps I should quit trying to organize and just write. Please bear with me.

I agree to a large extent with the meme that keeps beating my brain. We can’t look to people to hold up our faith in Christianity. We will absolutely fail to continue to have faith if that is what we do. People disappoint. And we have to be able to accept that. Because as people WE disappoint. How can we hold others who we are watching to a standard that we ourselves cannot uphold? It simply isn’t possible.

Because we are of this world.

I have searched for the right scripture that says “be in this world not of it.” I can’t find it. I find a lot of references that are about being an example. Peter commissions Christians to live in such a way that those watching can’t accuse of wrong doing but see good deeds (I Peter 2:12). Jesus tells followers that because they are chosen they are no longer of this world (John 15:19). There are several {many} other such references. Clearly, claiming the Christian faith means that one should live differently.

But, we are still of and in this world. And we are still merely humans.

Point of Grace released a song years ago–“I Choose You”. {I love Point of Grace–great harmonies, wonderful messages.} Basically, the song explained that we are made to have faith or worship, so I Choose God.

I suppose that someone could argue that we aren’t made with that tendency. But, eh. . .what do you love and adore? Where do you easily bestow glory? How do you feel refreshed? Is there something that inspires you to change? What leaves you standing in awe?

I did not see the universe created. But I am certain of its existence. I am sure that it was created by a Hand so much mightier than any man’s. How glorious, how awesome, how renewing. My faith is placed in the hope that I can one day see the Hand that can do such amazing things.

In the meantime, I want to be better than I am. But I will fail in my example.

I’ll keep trying.

But I can’t be anyone’s standard.

I’m just a person.

Memento Mori

Leave a comment

An artistic representation or symbol of the inevitability of death. Translated from the Latin, “remember that you {have to} die.”

Nugget

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It has only been about four years that I was even aware that there was such a day. It has nearly been five years since I became aware that such a day is necessary.

Little

Pregnancy loss or miscarriage {both terms give me the heebie jeebies–neither seems to truly encompass what has happened but both are better than some of the medical terms used} was not something I really spent a lot of time thinking about. I knew more about the difficulties of getting pregnant having several friends who struggled with infertility.

I struggled with the staying pregnant part.

All things pregnancy change all things life. The way that pregnancy loss changes life is to remind us so sharply of death. It so often does not matter how we protect those we love, what steps we take to keep them safe. Death comes. And, sadly, it comes way too early for some.

I can say that for the entire time of my pregnancy with Peter I feared Death would remind me again that it is inescapable. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to meet Peter face-to-face. To watch him learn and grow and laugh. To learn and grow and laugh with him. We are blessed, as so many don’t have this chapter to their stories.

Most memento mori are skulls or something more apparently tied to the idea of death. For me, they are ultrasounds. Tiny little lives that had heart beats for a brief blip of time.

Monkey

They remind me that all heart beats are limited.

So, I try to cherish each one. To show gratitude on even the hardest of days. I don’t always succeed. But as long as my heart keeps beating, I’ll keep trying.

{There is no ultrasound of Agent #4.}

Confessions of a {good} mom, part ?

Leave a comment

I truly don’t remember what installment this is. Four, maybe?

I’m still so very tired. And one of the things that makes me tired is everyone telling me how tired I’m going to be when Peter starts walking. Like the type of tired I am in this season isn’t valid.

He’s figured out how to climb into his chair and settle in.

I want to say yes. Everything seems to be “that’s a no” right now. The trashcan is particularly fascinating. But, it’s a no. The diaper pail, also fascinating. Also, a no. The printer, charging cords, remote controls. . . that’s a no. So, I try to find things to say yes. Want to pull all my clothes out of the drawer? Ok. I will try not to think about how I have to put them back after you go to bed. Want to play in the dog water? Ok. I will try not to think about how I have to clean it up before it warps the floor. Want to use the fork by yourself? Ok. I will try not. . . .

It helps that his face is so full of joy when he does those things.

I hope he’s getting enough good nutrition as we transition off of formula. Who knew formula was such a safety net in this way (ok, probably everyone–even me, to an extent–I just didn’t think about it until now). Is he going to get enough food? Is it going to be the right food? Is he starving and not able to tell me?

I can NOT get over watching him problem solve and learn and the look on his face when he accomplishes something.

But have I mentioned how tired I am?

Older Entries