The Digital Age

Gadgets are glued upon the insensitive ear.
A teenager phoned in, but remains deaf
to their wailing friend;
a friend whose cord is choking reality, purpose.

A man stalks the midnight hours
trolling for the lonely misfit
driven to keys of electronic promise.

There sits a nation gazing at blue screens
while the bonds around them fry to ashes,
refusing to be made beautiful if only they would silence that snare
and enter the vulnerable world.

The link to society which provides an instantaneous message
is the same that can plaster the mask
and carve out intention,
leaving the earth scattered with empty shells, but
absorbing selfish insecurities and passions as the screens keeps flipping.

I don’t want our children to watch TV until 2 years of age or older. I don’t want my pre-teen to own a mobile phone. How can I teach them simplicity in world gone complex with madness? The madness where people furiously type and refuse to gather in intimate conversation. The madness where individuals refuse to gaze at the lines of another face and watching time etch the age into flesh rather than preserving themselves in a web of lies and instant gratification? How do I tell family and friends this desire without appearing offensive?

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Vagina Diaries

I’d like to have a vaginal birth.

American society is all about medicated births—“efficiency”. We’ve sped up everything—technology, cars, food, and sadly birth. Doctors want the babies delivered when it is convenient for them and in the least amount of time. There is little regard for how this “efficiency” has repercussions for the baby.

I can probably count the number of women I personally know who have had non-medicated births on one hand (counting just the women, not the number of children she has had). OB-GYN’s will often tell clients that they are past due and thus induce them. This information is based off of sonograms that could incorrectly determine a child’s birth weight by about 2 pounds. A woman’s last period is often factored in. This wouldn’t be a problem if this calculation was performed off that individual woman. Unfortunately, birth date calculators often determine the date based off a 14 day ovulation. That is not the case for most women. It isn’t for me.

I’d like a home birth. It isn’t as unsafe as some think it is. Hospitals have a tendency to want to treat individuals like they have a disease. Birth is not something that should be treated as preventive maintenance. Medicated births should only occur when there is a real problem. Now I’m not as anti-hospitals as some of my friends are. I just think that I’ll be more comfortable in my home (if I don’t have to clean it up afterwards and I get to drink, eat, and position myself the way I want to in a familiar setting). Hospitals have often felt like home to me because I’m in them so often. I don’t want that for my children.

Midwives are also more educated than American society gives them credit for. They are very talented (granted they could be better at drawing blood…but my veins are difficult for even the most skilled technicians in the hospital). There are classes held to educate individuals about how to have a home birth too. Also, a midwife can frequently detect if there is going to be an issue with a home birth and advise against it if the midwife thinks it’ll be problematic.

I got criticized when I mentioned speaking to a midwife in my last pregnancy. I hate having people tell me I’d be jeopardizing the life of my child. I’ve tried for roughly 3 years to have a kid and was devastated with the miscarriage. Can a person honestly say that I’d willing put my baby at risk knowing that information? Sadly some closest to me do say that. They are the same people however who don’t question doctors or research medical practices themselves. They accept what they are force fed.

In the back of my mind I do worry about whether or not I’ll have a complicated pregnancy (I did have a miscarriage). I wonder if I’ll be high risk. I fear I won’t be able to have a non-medicated birth and I wonder what impact that will have on my children. I fear that this approval addiction will drive me to the cold stone walls of a hospital, pump me with drugs, and not give me my baby to hold for the first few seconds of that child’s life (which are critical in passing the mother’s bacteria fighting antibodies onto the child).

Life is fragile. My miscarriage has reiterated that to me. What life am I giving to future children starting with their birth? I guess it is just another thing I need to surrender to God. He is the author and protector of the uncertainties in life.

For interesting and informative documentaries watch Microbirth and The Business of Being Born.

I Love BOOBIES

Okay sorry for the play on words there. I hate those bracelets. It is to raise awareness about breast cancer, but I don’t think it is the most effective way to do it.

Anyways, that is another concern. I have rampant breast cancer in my family. Will I contract it? Will my children? (If I do contract it at least that puts me at a higher probability of passing before Frank.) Maybe they’ll start to have cures for the disease by the time we have kids.

So I did not intend for this post to be about cancer; although fearing diseases and a child dying at a young age is certainly a grave fear. Tuesday night, because natural child birth and child rearing is an interest of mine, we watched a documentary about breastfeeding. The documentary was a great expose about breast milk. It followed the lives of 4-5 women and their aspirations, fears, and goals for breastfeeding. Some women really wanted to breast feed and couldn’t. Another thought she might use formula but had so much milk she also helped to donate the milk. A lesbian couple actually taught their adopted infant how to nurse on their breasts (apparently you don’t need to be pregnant to breast feed, you just have to put an infant close and try to nurse repeatedly until you produce milk; I guess there are even a few men who have been able to lactate (movie mentioned that there were cases)).

I love sleep. It takes time at night to breast feed—a few hours throughout the night even. Will I cave to formula because I’ll be too grouchy from the lack of sleep? Will I produce enough milk? If I pump too often so Frank can help with night feedings will I produce less milk? Will I produce enough milk (I haven’t even been able to conceive within 3 years while having continuous unprotected sex and we have been trying for a kid)? What will our sex life look like when I am lactating, will I let my breasts be an erogenous zone or not? How will I take criticisms of breastfeeding in public?

Boobs were designed as a means to provide food for kids. I’ve always known that. Why does society seem to say that they are equivalent to the penis and are simply for sexual pleasure? Why do we not seem to understand biology and the basic purposes of our body (yes to glorify God, but more so the biology…we over-spiritualize our bodies at times and thus say we must control the lactating breast when it is really just a food source). Did I even make sense in that last sentence? I don’t know if I did. Sorry. (Oh and that nasty habit—hopefully our kids don’t pick that up!)

Yeah so that’s another fear to add to this never-ending list—breast feeding and its possible complications.

For more information about the documentary visit: http://breastmilkthemovie.com/themovie.html

Financial Peace

My grandmother’s frugality while she was living and her kind distribution of assets after her passing has helped Frank and I become debt free. We are a two income family that lives quite comfortably. Throughout the year we can afford to take trips across the US. At times, when work is slow for Frank, we can depend on my salary alone.

When we have kids I want to be a stay at home mom or work part time (20 hours or so).

NJ has an extremely high cost of living.

How can we maintain our debt-free lifestyle, enjoy the amenities we’ve grown accustomed to (travel and fine dining specifically, not so much in monetary things), have me be the secondary bread-winner rather than the primary/stay home more, and live in NJ without absurd housing costs?

I’ve never loved money but saw it merely as a means to an end, a tool. I don’t think it is evil. I don’t think it is good. It just is.

How will we instill these money values (not to be greedy but not to be careless) in our children? How will we manage/ juggle the items mentioned two paragraphs ago? How will I remain calm and not let the logistics of finances and how that will change when we have kids freak me out?

Prayers for financial peace and proper priorities needed if and when we do have kids. Thanks.

Sexuality and Children

This morning I watched a video about a man whose boyfriend died and the boyfriend’s family rejected the man. The boyfriend’s family actually beat their child. The family denied the man access to information about the death of his beloved. Legally he was not entitled to information from the hospital. The boyfriend’s family refused to share it with this man. It was a heart wrenching story.

I think acting on homosexuality is a sin. I also think premarital sex, adultery, incest, pornography, and transsexualism is a sin. I think hate groups targeted towards these marginal groups are sinful organizations. Any individual who abuses someone whose sexual preference or identity is not “normal” is sinning. Verbal abuse is included. Where then is the delicate line between holding a conviction that something is sinful without appearing bigoted or hateful? I would never intentionally assault an individual with whom I disagree with. Christ calls us to love each other. Where exactly is the boundary between license and legalism, love and truth, wrong and right?

I think homosexuals should be legally entitled to their loved one’s assets, hospital visiting privileges, and tax benefits. If not performed in a church, I’m actually okay with homosexuals being united. (If homosexuals don’t don’t identify themselves as believers I’m okay with their union…however this gets tricky when wanting someone to know Christ. I don’t think homosexuals go to hell simply for being homosexual. I do think that individuals who don’t follow Christ do. This is a very complicated and muddled concept I haven’t quite figured out how to rectify.)

How would I instruct a child to have a healthy view of their own sexuality? (I don’t intend to imply that sexual preferences or identities contrary to societal “norms” are unhealthy.) I want my child to understand that sex isn’t wrong. It is a beautiful thing. I don’t want our children ashamed of their bodies. However, I do want to impress that, like everything in life, a certain self-control needs to be exerted. What is that balance?

I fear the sex talk with our kids. I also know Frank will be highly uncomfortable doing it and discussing sex is not something I shy away from. I think it is important to discuss. I also wonder how I will discuss it with our children, letting them form their own thoughts and opinions, while teaching them about sin, truth, love, and the gospel.

Also, how would I even begin to address the issue of a hermaphrodite child? Frank and I have actually had this conversation before, though briefly.

Binge

This weekend’s food consumption was an EPIC fail. I ate so much junk food and its effects are still lingering. I completely fell off the no sugar wagon and consumed cakes, cupcakes, and candy. My blood sugar levels skyrocketed and plummeted. After not having processed foods for a while now, let alone processed sweets, my body feels as if it has been hit by a semi.

How will my diet affect future children? Is diet preventing pregnancy? Does it help? Is it a placebo effect? If I consume junk will my kids have an affinity towards it?

It seems my mother’s obsession with diet and my desire not to carry that addiction into my offspring isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be. My constant thinking of healthy foods adds to the never ending worries Christ tells us not to concern ourselves with.

When will I finally let this food fear go?

Bucket List: 50

From yesterday’s post you know that part of my bucket list is to see all 50 States.

In my continuous searches for activities across the US and trip itineraries, I came across Alisa Abecassis’ website: http://exploreall50.com/

Here she posts information about the trips she has taken with her children. They are quite informative and have given me ideas as to what I’d like to see and do in states I haven’t seen yet.

To add to information about states, I’ll say that Connecticut can seem to have little to do in it. However, at a rest stop Frank and I were given a coupon to the PEZ factory. I was so grateful at that moment for my small bladder! We wouldn’t have known about the factory if we didn’t stop to use the restroom at that rest stop. It was a neat little factory that recorded the history of PEZ. You could also buy a bucket of PEZ for about 5 dollars. (I wasn’t as anti-sugar when we went there 2 years ago or so.) I highly recommend this place as it is a bit off the beaten path and well worth a tourist visit. It wasn’t even that crowded and it seems people don’t really know about it. Ms. Abecassis even mentions the PEZ visitor center on her website.

At some point I plan on compiling my trip across all 50 and will highlight some of my favorite locations and activities (or just the fact that we didn’t have much time so we stopped to eat—which is the way I’ll count a state (airport layovers are excluded and a cop-out for the true travel bug).)

I fear my children won’t like travel as much as me and will want to be introverted home bodies, a bit like their father. (However, I drag him places and he doesn’t resent me too much so hopefully our kids won’t either if I trot around the globe with them.)

The Impedence of Travel

I guess I’m on a trend to express all my fears of a future pregnancy.

Today’s topic: travel.

I’ve heard many individuals tell me that once you have kids you don’t go anywhere. You just don’t travel. It is more expensive and difficult to travel with children. I would agree to the cost portion of these individuals’ arguments. However, I remember visiting several sights as a kid. I had an amazing childhood. I can remember being a toddler and my parents dragging us on hikes. They pushed us and thought we could do it. I liked that. They didn’t let our pace stop them from enjoying life or doing activities, they just walked slower because we couldn’t go as fast. I didn’t have a perfect childhood and I can remember constant fighting between my parents, but they did create memorable experiences through our camping trips and museum excursions, even when we were small. Those trips were the times when we didn’t fight. We just relaxed and soaked up the education, adventure, and quality time. I fear I won’t do excursions like my parents, but listen to the people who would think me a bad mother if I was gallivanting around town with my tot.

I love travel. My bucket list is to visit every state and every continent, including Antarctica. I think this is possible even with a kid. It might be more difficult, but I’m willing to persevere and show my kids the world like my parents did. I don’t want sheltered children. They need to learn about other cultures and locations. Also, I think Frank and I will still visit places ourselves even after we do have kids. We’ll even go there without our kids—*gasp*.

I babysat for a woman in college who would take a two week trip once a year with her husband. She adored her son, but she admitted that she loved her husband just as much and needed that bonding time with him. They had a strong marriage from what I remember. (I haven’t kept in touch so I don’t know how they are doing now, but I think that balance of kid and couple time probably has kept them together.) I want alone time with Frank. I will need date nights with him. Sometimes that will include a weekend getaway without the kids. I don’t think that wanting time away from children and alone with your spouse means you are selfish or a bad parent. If anything, children will value the time with their parents more and appreciate their parent’s strong marital relationship. It instructs kids on how to put effort into romance.

So I fear our travel expeditions will be impeded, but then again I get anxious when at home for too long that I don’t think I’ll let it be impeded too much…here’s hoping. I’m not a parent yet so I don’t know…

Mental Health in Kids

I’ve been reluctant to express fears surrounding future pregnancies. Today I’ll share, in more detail than I probably have in the past, a concern related to future children.

On Wednesday we told a newer member of the church we want kids, in fact we had a miscarriage June 7th. She asked if there was anything knowingly problematic with that pregnancy that caused my body to terminate our child’s life. I shook my head no. Then I said how it was probably the improper development of the fetus and that while I was sad about it, I would be relieved losing an embryo rather than having a child with disabilities. Now, let me say this, I would adore any child God chooses to bless me with. However, the medical bills and routine stress of having to care for an invalid would not make my anxiety decrease. I’ve worked with the handicap population. They have a hard life. It takes a toll on all family involved. Even worse is mental illness because it isn’t always visible like a physical debilitation. This individual said that unless there were severe health complications in my family that it’d be unlikely a pregnancy would abort due to handicap. She doesn’t know my history.

My sister was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder in college. It would probably be okay most of the time if she took medicine. That is a problem though. Most individuals with bi-polar disorder think that the medicine alters them and it makes them feel abnormal. These folks self-diagnose health and remove themselves from the medicine regimen. Then, because they aren’t taking the necessary measures to help their thinking, they wind up self-destructing through their manipulative choices and self-centered universe. It stresses the family and can influence a parent’s divorce. I’m not saying that the person with bi-polar disorder is the cause of such a choice. Each individual must make their own decisions. However, one parent might choose to enable the bi-polar individual and the other might disagree and it can put a huge fracture in a marriage. It has been a stressful environment for my family and often had my parents in arms as they bicker over how to handle my sister’s decisions.

Then there is me. I’ve struggled with depression and eating disorders in my past. My mother is obsessed with weight control and thinks thin equals beauty. I’m not blaming my mother for my mistakes. I am an approval addict though and in an attempt to gain her approval I might have subconsciously thought that bulimia would be a way to gain her approval (if I was thin I was beautiful and she would converse with me more…that type of deceptive thinking). The last time I cut was January 3, 2012. I am so proud that supportive friendships helped me to overcome that addiction. I did have to take medicine in college. I went to a Christian college. I was afraid of confessing that I struggled with depression, eating disorders, and cutting. (I was a new Christian and God forbid my faith be discredited for struggling with these issues!)

Anyways, there is a deep rooted fear that my child will suffer from self-esteem issues. I fear my child will succumb to the dangers of depression and won’t discuss it with me. I fear he or she will be born with a mental disorder and it’ll go undiagnosed for years. Then I have to remind myself that I can’t add hours to my life by worrying. I have to surrender and submit all my thoughts, actions, and worries to God. He is in control. I can just pray for my child and create an environment of love and acceptance while instilling principles of truth and discipline.

The Return of Man

So in my excitement over my husband’s early return home I neglected to post my enthusiasm, let alone write anything at all. I’m also still trying to kick this cold. Now I have my helpmate to ease the work so I can recover. (I am his too. We are more mutual (egalitarian) in this household.)

I am giddy he’s home. I don’t like time away from my spouse. Frank is my best friend. He’s the person I can spend hours with and it only feels like seconds. Most wives I hear complaining about needing time away from their husbands. They also prefer their girl time. Call me strange, but I just don’t feel that way. I’d rather be with Frank than my girlfriends, or anyone else for that matter; no offense. There are few people I feel comfortable to vent to, let go of reservations, and truly be myself around. He is the person I’m closest to and can relate to best, which is interesting because we are very different in our personalities. He should be my closest comrade though because he is my husband. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, especially when you have some days where you don’t even call each other due to busy schedules.

Nighttime has been difficult though—the only thing I’ve been less than thrilled to mesh again, at least while we are snot-filled messes.

A cough vibrates the midnight hour
awakening me to a groggy state,
slumber staved yet again.
Then his arms thrash, as if defending himself from nightmare’s predators,
and accidentally pummel my delicate flesh.
Grumpily, I toss and turn,
trying to tune out his senseless babble.
He continues snoozing, but his clogged nostrils cause repetitive air tunnels (an infrequent occurrence I’ve yet to grow accustomed to).
When sleep will not envelop me, I jolt out of bed and pace.
My pounding head pleads for rest.
I know it’d cure my illness; this cold might take its leave.
I might finally be well, but alas the balm of slumber shall not occur tonight.
Apparently, we still need to adjust our habits
and learn to share this bed again.