Camouflaged Breasts

Before my miscarriage I had thoughts about how I would feed my child, deliver my child, raise my child.  These thoughts haven’t really passed and I find myself perusing articles about child rearing and associated controversies.  Mentioning a topic with a friend last night and seeing his skeptical look caused me to wonder why it is even an issue.  The topic—breastfeeding.  Now sure most of society is okay if breastfeeding is behind a locked door.  Infants aren’t always cooperative about feeding when it is convenient.  You can put your kid on a feeding schedule, but why?  I’m all for a sleep schedule, I want my naps when I have kids. A feeding schedule though?  I like to snack, why should I forbid a ravished infant from doing so?  

Anyways, the article I read discussed a recent debate among military personnel.  Now I am an Army wife and not in uniform myself so while it doesn’t really apply to me, I still feel it to be a personal cause I needed to discuss.  The debate was whether or not breastfeeding in uniform would be considered degrading to the uniform. Some equate breastfeeding in public, in uniform, to defecating in public, in uniform.  I don’t see how these two parallel in the least.  One is used to expel waste and stinks.  The other is used to provide nourishment.  Yes, boobs can be used for sexual pleasure, but when did society forget their intended purpose?  If watching a woman breastfeed turns you on, I’d say you need to pray and assess other deeper issues in your life.  If you are truly bothered, look the other way.  Now do I really want to see a woman whip out her boob in front of me?  Not particularly. I do think women, when ABLE (i.e. they do have a sling readily available or the kid isn’t screaming at ungodly decibels) should cover themselves while breastfeeding in public.  However I do not think there should be a ban on women in the military being able to publicly provide food to their babes.   

Women shouldn’t have to do covert ops in order to feed their kids.  It is a boob for goodness sake.  It is meant for food.  If you are disgusted, look the other way, a baby has to eat and sorry if biology makes you uncomfortable.  Also, not all infants enjoy bottles.  Some won’t take them.  We can try and have military women cut their hair, tape themselves, and exercise like men but we are stripping them of their femininity.  Feminism, at least how I understand it, isn’t about wanting to make women into men, it is about equality among the genders, the ability to be free to live out our fullest potential and not have gender be a discriminating factor.  Women should be respected based on their credentials and not looked at differently because she has boobs and a vagina.  If a man can’t take a woman seriously in uniform if she breastfeeds he should ask himself if he’s ever really respected her regardless of her gender or if he only respected her because he tried to envision she was masculine.  

Breastfeeding shouldn’t even really be an issue.  Boobs are really meant for food, we can’t camouflage that no matter how much we decorate them in lace or make erotic movies.  Breastfeeding empowers a child to grow strong.  It is no where near equivalent to degrading a uniform like defecating in public (although sometimes when you got to go you have to go…that’s probably for another thread).  

The stipulations on what is respectful to the uniform and what isn’t makes me gawk at times.  The military touts itself as being family oriented but when we have articles like this and spouses can’t touch each other if one is in uniform, I begin to question how truly family oriented the authorities of our forces really are.  I wonder if they camouflage death, war, and bankruptcy through a veil of touted and unfounded (no evidence truly supporting the claims) tales of being family oriented.

 

Note:  I respect our Armed Services.  I am proud to call myself an Army wife.  Like all things though, I question its history and reasons for particular principles.  I do not mean this to be disrespectful to my strong, courageous husband in the least.  Honey I hope you did not perceive it this way.  

 

Thoughts?

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I Dig You

Yesterday was my last day for 2.5 weeks with Hubby (hence I didn’t post yesterday).  He left this morning at 4 am and has made a long flight trek with his unit to California.  We were supposed to spend today together, but the military called this past Friday and moved his leave date from August 8th to August 6th.  I just pray continuously for his safety.  I don’t like when he’s away.  His absence does leave ample time for me to draw near to God on my own, however.  I could look at Frank’s time away as an opportunity to forge a deeper relationship with God so that when Frank returns, Lord willing, I will be more devoted to God and less distracted when Frank is around.  Anyways, the reason today was so special to me is that Frank turns 29 today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEST FRIEND!!!  

I hope it is a birthday as great as he is.  I also hope the guys in his unit do something special rather than letting this day pass as if it is any other.  I also hope Frank will use his age acquired wisdom to share the gospel with the guys in his unit.  I wish I had more time (don’t we all) to do some last minute stuff for Frank’s birthday before he left, but it was such an abrupt leave from the command.  It is my hope that a post expressing my gratitude for this man will help him celebrate his birthday with joy and help stimulate a desire for him to seek God fervently on this trip to California.  

Frank has been my biggest supporter.  I couldn’t have endured a miscarriage alone.  I’m so blessed to have a man that drew me into his arms and prayed healing over me when I felt scarred from that experience.  He constantly encourages me to pursue my dreams.  This blog is actually due to his encouragement to pursue my writing again.  I hope to take some writing classes soon and hone my poetry so it flows better.  Perhaps then we can use that as a source of income and we can travel.  (Yeah, dreaming big here.)  Thank you Frank for helping me get back into the realm of words and praying over the outcome of my writing endeavors.  

Frank also brings me much laughter.  He is quiet in public, but silly with me.  He makes quirky faces and goofy dances.  When we have power outages he is so prepared it makes me giggle.  He’s also extremely witty and uses puns constantly.  Lately he’s been perusing the web to tell me science puns.  His love of pretzels and insistence on driving a diesel truck brings a smirk to my face;  at times I can find it annoying, but in truth it’s just part of his predictability that makes me feel secure and protected.  

When people think of Frank they think of a hard-working man who is outdoorsy and handy.  His recent birthday celebration at Diggerland USA helps to reinforce these impressions of Frank.  We enjoyed the day working with construction vehicles, climbing a ropes course, and riding some military equipment.  We went a few weeks before his birthday to celebrate since August is such a crazy busy month, but it was still enjoyable.  Enjoy the photos below and may his smile and enjoyment of such things like Diggerland bring you as much joy as they bring to me.  

 

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A Sweet Life

I’ve been dropping the ball on weekends and not posting.  Frank leaves for California on Wednesday.  He’ll be gone for 2.5 weeks.  I figured I’d rather spend the couple of days this past weekend with him rather than concerning myself with blogging.  I’m sure you understand.  Thank you.

Anyways, since Frank will be away, we went grocery shopping yesterday and tried to stock up on a few items.  In April, we started an eradication of sugar in our diet.  Now I am a chemist and understand that carbohydrates are sugars and that we need sugar in our diet.  It’s really all the additives and fructose we are trying to cut out.  We haven’t been perfect and shopping for August projects me falling off the band wagon slightly more since I’m a cook of convenience when I’m alone, but this endeavor has helped us significantly reduce the amount of sweets we consume.  As such, life has been much sweeter.

We, or at least I, don’t crave sweets as often.  I can have the self control to minimize the portions of sugary goods I do eat.  This life change has also helped us realize just how much sugar is being added to American’s diets.  Processed goods, including crackers, hummus, salad dressings, veggie chips, meats, and condiments, to name a few, have added sugar, some even including high fructose corn syrup.  In small quantities this isn’t an issue, but sugar is in almost every food product being sold in super markets.  Then our society wonders why we have rampant obesity and diabetic problems.  We’ve seen a surge in cancer related diseases since I was a kid.  I can’t help think that our nutrition is playing a key role in that.  Also, we are a nation that needs caffeine to help us wake up (I’m guilty of this too and I just like coffee).  Excess sugar leads to fluctuating insulin releases in your body’s system.  These fluctuating levels of energy will leave you exhausted.  Also, sugar is addictive.  The more sugar you eat the more you need so you don’t experience the decrease in insulin from not maintaining constant food consumption.  It is a vicious cycle.  Next time you are grocery shopping look at the labels and see just how much sugar is in the products you eat.  (Consider the amount of fruit you eat in a day too.)  See these photos for just a few sugary culprits (some expected, some not so much):
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We started this as a means to help our fertility.  It helped (granted we had a miscarriage, but we were able to conceive when doctors told us even that would be a feat).  Although it began as a journey to help fertility, it has morphed into an awareness of what we eat.  It has been an eye-opening experience and a wake up call to the sugar comas we were falling into.  We’ve risen from the trap.  We aren’t chained to processed foods and when we do eat prepared goods we make wiser choices in those goods.  Eradicating sugar also helps me sleep better (since eating sugar a little bit this weekend, I’ve been restless at night).  This process has helped us have better nutrition.  (Despite the negativity towards this diet from slightly overweight folks and people that think fat free foods are good (which they aren’t but that’s a whole other rant).)  I can honestly say that for my life, sugar reduction has given me a taste of a sweeter life.  

Being Pro-Choice

My supervisor made a valid point yesterday. If we claim we are pro-choice, there should not be long winded debates between pro-life folks and pro-choice individuals. The word choice means you don’t care what a woman chooses so you wouldn’t argue against someone who views an embryo as life and wants it to live. I know I’m getting caught up in semantics and people who don’t want laws against abortion aren’t necessarily for it, but I believe the word emphasis is important. To argue against a woman choosing life is futile if you really mean you respect others choices. I guess if we stick to the true definition of choice then, I am pro-choice—the choice to educate women about the effects of abortion, the other options available to them, sex education (discussed below), and help women choose life for their child in the end.

So often we scream intolerance when views don’t align with our opinion but true tolerance is accepting another viewpoint (even when extremely contrary to our ideals) and being able to discuss an issue calmly and like adults. (I did this the other night with a friend from church in fact. We disagree on feminism and what respect looks like, but we did so in a friendly manner unlike so many debates I’m used to. It was refreshing to say the least.) I can hold to my convictions and be tolerant. The word tolerance does not mean I have to eventually agree with the other person’s view, it simply means I’ll respect them as I disagree. I think it is important we understand this in our culture. Anyways, I digressed. Back to the reason I am writing this thread and off my rant of word usage/grammar, which could be an entire post in itself (oh poor adverbs, I feel for you and your neglected state…).

I, through much heart-wrenching prayer, debate, and counsel have concluded that while I’m vehemently opposed to the willful killing of babies, a federal law that imposes rules against abortion would be futile. We can make laws, people will still break them. Instead, education needs to be increased. Women need to be told they are valuable, capable, and intelligent. We need resources to help women make the choice not to get an abortion. We need to raise awareness about birth control and teach individuals how to use it properly. (I like abstinence and purity lessons taught to teens, but if I’m honest, a teen will engage in sex if they want it badly enough. We need to increase self-esteem and boldness among our youth. Although a no-sex-before- your-married stance is great to have, if we only teach teens abstinence and not about contraceptives or STDs, we might be worse off.) I am for sex education taught by parents to their children at a young age, like 5 (yes, really that young, you’d be surprised how much kids know at this age about the “birds and the bees” already). I don’t think federal laws prohibiting or allowing abortion will solve the issue. I am also an advocate for protecting the life of a baby.

When I miscarried at 5 weeks I was heartbroken. I had invested thought and energy into dreaming about a future with my child. To me, it was a life. A friend has also had a miscarriage and thinks an embryo is life as well. I was slightly confused then when she said she applied to 10 or so Planned Parenthood positions. Now, I know the organization does things like mammograms, sex education, contraceptive give-aways, and other well-meaning activities. However, I know that they willingly perform abortions. I can not support an organization that does this. That is why my heart seared when I heard about her applying to these jobs. She said it was simply a means to an end—it’d pay her bills.

It is about principle for me. I don’t know about you, but to me I’d never undertake a job that directly opposed my personal morals. There is always another job out there that will pay me. I shouldn’t risk my reputation or convictions to “get ahead” in life.

She said, “Well, I would still be friends with someone who got an abortion.” I would too. That does not mean though that I wouldn’t try to do everything in my power to assist them and help my friend contemplating an abortion find other viable options, even if it meant me budgeting frugally so I could help pay the medical expenses required with pregnancy. (That is if I could convince Frank to set aside funds for such an endeavor as well…)

I’m for the choice of life. I choose to not fund organizations, regardless of the other wonderful causes they perform, if the institution is against the grain of my morals, my convictions. Since my friend has a similar love for children, I would like her to choose a different job, one that would not find her one day possibly having to assist in an abortion. Pray for this friend’s employment, discernment in choices, and a surrendering of her heart to Jesus (she is not a follower— and I’m not saying this because of her choice to apply to that place).

The Miracle of Birth

I have a friend who recently found out she has placenta previa. It is a situation where the cervix is obstructed by the placenta. If it doesn’t move, she’ll have to have a C-section. She has had four natural pregnancies and two miscarriages so far. I deeply admire her even though I don’t know her too well. Yes, I still call her a friend because we have the bond of the Holy Spirit.

Anyways, please join with me in praying for a miraculous change of events. I know some might think that a C-section is nothing grave and why should we pray for something medicine can fix. That’s just it, we tend to rely on medicine more than on God’s healing power. Somewhere in the advancement of technology, we began to think that medicine could do more to help humanity than God. Society began to think that medicine expedites and performs systems better than the way God designed us to do them. Now, I am grateful for these advances because it helps women who need assistance and it helps save lives. Yet we need to stop treating birth as a disease. We need to stop using medicine as preventive maintenance and revert to its original purpose—emergencies. C-sections are so common in today’s society we don’t realize that it is a major surgery! It can also present complications. It can lead to abdominal bleeding if performed incorrectly, a collapsed uterus, and scar tissue which could complicate future pregnancies.

Women were designed to give birth. Women have delivered 15 pound babies vaginally. Doctors will tell women that 15 pound babies are too big. Sometimes they are. Most of the time the hips adjust to accommodate this baby. Also, the ultrasounds used to predict birth weight are not always accurate; they can be about 2-3 pounds off.

Ultrasounds are also used to predict due dates. While ultrasounds have helped diagnose issues like my friend has, it has also been too heavily relied upon. Ultrasounds can be off on a due date by about 2 weeks. Which brings me to another issue—induction.

The medicine used in inductions, pitocin, messes with the body’s natural birth process. This is from childbirth.org:

Are there problems associated with the use of Pitocin?

Yes. Oxytocin, your body’s natural hormone, is secreted in bursts. However, when you are given pitocin you are placed on a regulated intravenous pump, to regulate the amount of pitocin to a steady flow. Therefore, pitocin induced contractions are different from your body’s natural contractions, in strength and effect.
With pitocin, the induced force of the contraction may decrease uterine blood flow (This is also done during a natural contraction, but not for as long of a period and not as close together.). Therefore, reducing the oxygen to the baby.
With pitocin you will also receive continuous electronic fetal monitoring. This is because fetal distress is more common with pitocin use and needs to be detected if it occurs.
We have also witness that pitocin can be the beginning domino in the domino effect. The IV, the infusion pump, and the continuous monitoring will confine most mothers to bed, decreasing her ability to deal with the contractions naturally. With the more painful contractions a mother is more likely to need pain medication, such as an epidural anesthesia.
Pitocin can present other hazards. For the mother these include: tumultuous labor and tetanic contractions, which may cause premature separation of the placenta, rupture of the uterus, laceration of the cervix or postbirth hemorrhage. Fetal hazards include: fetal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxia from too frequent and prolonged uterine contractions, physical injury and prematurity if the due date is not accurate.

As you can see medicine can be abused if used commonly rather than as its intended purpose in emergencies. My friend’s case is an emergency. She’s had natural births though and describes the experience as pleasurable and heartfelt. Most women I know who have undergone C-sections, epidurals, or pitocin have longer recoveries, stronger contractions with more pain, and the baby under goes duress. While it is perfectly understandable that my friend would be utilizing a C-section out of necessity rather than by selection, we need to pray that God intervenes and that if it is his will, that the C-section be avoided. I know that is her desire. So pray for miracles because they still happen in our day. (Side note: I do not think the natural process of conceiving and delivering a child, under normal circumstances, is a miracle, but that is a whole other thread that I should probably avoid discussing electronically.)

I’m grateful I’ve learned so much about natural birth from her, my best friend, and internet searches. I feel the urgency to pray for this friend’s predicament because I have learned the truth about C-sections that doctor’s don’t tell us about; I’ve learned the truth about the drugs most women aren’t educated about from their providers. Like I’ve said before, I know that in her case it would be understandable for her to have this surgery as she does have a medical condition that might require C-section intervention, but I’d like to pray she doesn’t have to endure this. Please join with me in doing so. Also, please research natural childbirth and the dangers of the drugs and surgeries we are so flippantly using today. Get aware so you can educate others too. Maybe we’ll begin to see a shift in how hospitals and medicines are used if you do become another voice advocating for natural means for most cases. It’ll be a miracle to see the placenta unblock her cervix this late in her pregnancy. While I’m reluctant to say it, maybe it’ll be a miracle to see change in how we do medicine. Pray for those miracles…

Yearning admist Clashes over Property

The strip is bombarded,
Stripping humanity’s integrity as bombs burst in the air.
Parts of beloved family members are scattered,
dismembered from the crossfires of war.
Body parts litter the soil,
dust of exploded bones crunching under soldiers’ boots.
These treasured folks all too quickly forgotten because of hate’s wages.

Why do we have the desire to birth offspring into a world with such decay, hostility, and battles? Wouldn’t the safest place be to keep the DNA halves locked inside the separate portions of Mom and Dad? I must admit that when the second blue line appeared in the window I felt a slew of emotions I didn’t expect to. I had always thought I’d be giddy with joy (and I was) but I felt a tinge of fear.

You wonder about how you’ll provide for the child, the impact it’ll have on all aspects of your life—especially as a couple and your sleep patterns, and you question how this wonder will be protected from evil and hurt. Then the news headlines cause you to fret even more. Christ says that his yoke is easy and his burden light, that those who are weary should come to him. We are also told that we can’t add hours to our lives by worrying. No matter how hard I try to trust and come to his reassuring Word I can’t seem to kick this nasty worrying habit.

I’m surrounded (although by distance, thankfully) by gunshots and blood spurts, crying relations and flag draped coffins. I fear death. I don’t fear my own though, strangely enough. I fear the loss of those closest to me, most importantly my beloved husband Frank. (We’ve agreed I’m supposed to die first—long story and I’ll engage you in that conversation if you’d like to hear it at some point, probably not here.) I fear for those left behind, especially me. (Is that selfish? Probably.) How do you forge ahead when they’ve helped define your past. Who will you be now? This life thing is delicate and infancy even more fragile.

Why would we want to bring such innocence into harsh reality? Why, even now with Ukraine and Gaza blasted to pieces, would I want to introduce a newborn into such a place as this?

I don’t know at all but the yearning’s still there.

Only in a Dream

I had a dream.

Somebody was sending me to the moon for six months. I couldn’t believe this news. Excitedly, I grabbed a phone, dialed my mom and Frank’s number, and told them. Their responses were not what I expected. Neither of them were remorseful about my upcoming trip. I wouldn’t be able to speak with or write to them for 6 months. Why were they this callous? Didn’t they want to communicate with me? Didn’t they care I’d be absent for 6 months? What if the shuttle didn’t return? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Also, who in the world was sending me? I didn’t really know.

Then I awoke.

My Freudian instincts wanted to analyze what all this meant. However, I tend to think myself far more complex than a basic sexual being as Freud typically categorized people. Also, dream interpretation has always been a bit hazy for me. I tend to think it is just my brain processing the days issues. I didn’t read anything about the moon yesterday though. I know people have said that God speaks to them in dreams. I don’t doubt he can, but I don’t believe I’ve personally experienced this. Also, if this was from him, what would he be trying to say with a trip to the moon? Is this code for Frank being deployed? The two of us moving? Our trip to Australia and New Zealand and the excitement we’ll have? I’m not sure at all.

Perhaps it is simply my mind taking an adventure because a trip to the moon would be enjoyable, because I feel I don’t have adventure in reality. However, my life would be an adventure if I chose it to be so. If I decided to count my blessings and discover how great and complex God is, even in the mundane, I’d see that every day is an adventure to be had.

Yet maybe I’m just over analyzing this like I said in the beginning. It could just simply be a dream, the firing of synapses in an active mind.

The Forgotten Children

Reports of raided orphanages have been sprawling across headlines lately. Apparently Russian soldiers threatened to invade Ukrainian orphanages if the directors of these facilities did not willingly hand over hundreds of orphans. The directors’ fear the children are merely being used as bait in a deadly war between Russia and Ukraine. It is believed that these children will be used as shields for combating soldiers.

For further information:
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/7/15/donetsk-orphanagerebels.html

After reading such articles, I’m plagued with frustration. Why are international adoption rates so high? Why is there so much red tape trying to adopt these beautiful children? Why should they be stuck in this war when there are thousands of individuals internationally who would want to care for these kids? I know we need to look out for their safety and that is why there are so many regulations when adopting, but are they not in jeopardy while on the forefronts of these battles? Frank and I would love to adopt, regardless of whether we have our own children or not. There are millions of kids needing homes, we’d love to help out the few we can. I’m sure if we were allowed to adopt a Ukrainian child, Frank would agree to adopting one of those children. I know I would.

How do we even begin to address the insane adoption costs and legal affairs? There are so many individuals who want children. It seems absurd to me that it should be so difficult to care for the least of these.

Level Up

A banner sprawled along the window wished blessings for the upcoming nuptials of a friend.  

The couple is quirky, nerdy.  The shower was Super Mario themed.  A talented future sister of the bride had crafted the flower centerpieces.  We filled them with fireballs, a rare treat for the seniors in the crowd.  People popped the balls into their gaping mouths with great enthusiasm.  Then tears from spicy flavor sprung inside their ducts.  Faces were wet from joy and the sweet.  

There stood the future bride with a toothy grin.  She peeled back the wrapping on all her future home decor.  Here is an excited woman racing towards that aisle.  

It had been a week since seeing my companion.  I raced towards him and we embraced in gleeful reunion.  

Life is an adventure.  You’ll have your ups and downs, but it is easier to wage through battles with a buddy to lean on.  She’s excited to get married and I’m excited to be married.  Moving to this stage was the best decision for us.  Leveling Up helped me to conquer harder levels for I have a lover’s support and that is a great win.  I pray the same for her transition.  

Wrinkles Wisdom

A bench arches its back so a hobbling woman can sit with ease.

She eases slowly into its embrace, releasing her knees strains.

I observe, eyes questioning her need for assistance. 

As she reclines her head shakes no and her hand pats the metal beside her.

I follow her suit. 

She peers up into the cloud dotted sky as she reaches to clasp my hands.

Her mouth parts and with a joyous grin she asks if I’ve looked at the white fluffs recently.  

I shake my head.  Patting my fingers she smiles and says, “Well, what do you see now?”

 

To be honest I’m not looking at the sky.  I am peering into green specs, full of wonder and awe, beset upon this woman’s face.  I gaze upon the folds of skin tracking memories.  Here sits a woman with stories, a farm girl who loves fishing and missionary work in Ukraine.  I see a woman whose experiences have led her to the cross of Christ.  

She has tested the waters of trust and she no longer wades like I do.  Instead, there she is basking in his seas of grace and letting his promises wash over her, baptized in faith.  I admire this woman stopping to study God’s artwork.  As I sit beside her, I’m filled with awe as her joy in the Lord is contagious.  I’m catching a wave of trust as I observe her allowing trust to infect her.

She’s breathing in the roses and detailing their scent.  She’s asking me to watch and see what the Lord has done, is doing, and will do.  Trust has been a process for her.  She said age has helped her do it.  

I’m admiring this mentor.  I’ve grazed upon the seeds of wisdom she has planted.  I’m grateful for her counsel and inspiration.  Her advice seems easy but not what I want to hear.  Yet she’s had the test of time and it has proved a fruitful faith.  I’ll listen to this wisdom and someday hope to have the endless river of trust and excitement for our God that this white-haired friend of mine possesses now.