Devastation of Loss

Pregnancy-MassageRecently I have been following a Christian Blogger, whose son passed away in September from a drowning accident. It is heartbreaking, and devastating to read his posts, partly because I think it is every parents’ fear, and partly because I have a little girl the same age as the child who died. I can see how this could have been me. My four-year-old son and three-year-old daughter are huge water bugs. After hearing about a local girl drowning early in summer my Husband and I decided that we would not assemble our five-foot-deep pool. It is just safer that way. Then, at the end of this season, a prayer request came in for a three-year-old boy who had slipped past his parents and into the pool at a BBQ. Reading about the parents’ devastation as they took their son off life support and made the difficult decision to donate organs, and then to have to say goodbye, I couldn’t help but think that could so easily be us.
A couple of years ago, when my son, now four was just barely two years old got curious he slipped into my Mom’s coy pond. Our older son, seven at the time without thinking reached in and yanked his little brother right back out. He didn’t realize that without him there his brother would have died, he just reacted to his brother falling into the water. We are so blessed that he was there and that he acted so quickly. As I read through the posts of this other family, I constantly think this could be me. The pain of losing a child is so immense; I cannot imagine how I would survive.

Yet I do, survive, every day.pregnancyTest_2359910b
Before my oldest was born, I was pregnant. Seven weeks and four days, when I hemorrhaged. We went immediately to the ER where they diagnosed an ectopic pregnancy and prepped me for emergency surgery. It seems now like I was pregnant, and then instantly not pregnant, but the truth was, on that cold, frightening November day I lost my first child. I struggled for years with depression, even after my son was born.
I still look at children, specifically, my niece who was born a couple of months before my due date and think that I should have a child that age. I wonder what the child I lost would have been like. Would she or he be like my oldest son, funny and goofy, and still wanting to cuddle on my lap at nine years old? He or she would be 11 this year. How do I not look at an 11-year-old and wonder what my lost child would be like?
I didn’t get three years to bond, and grow in love with this child; I only had a couple of weeks, and yet I know the kind of pain that someone who loses an infant or toddler goes through. I don’t have pictures or mementos to remind me of my lost child, but I do have that loss of everything that comes afterward. Her first steps. His first skinned knee. Her first words. Kisses, hugs, and I love you.
In March of this year, we experienced another loss. At just eight weeks after going into a routine ultrasound and finding no heartbeat. My husband and I prepared mentally for the fact that we would go through another miscarriage. Unlike the ectopic pregnancy that found a heartbeat, just in the wrong place, this loss was a little bit harder to deal with. After all, we never got to hear this baby’s heartbeat at all. Was there even ever a baby there?
Our children all three knew we were expecting, and our four-year-old named the baby Sam, after Fireman Sam his favorite cartoon. Explaining to a nine-year-old, four-year-old, and three-year-old that there simply wasn’t a baby anymore was difficult. The two younger children eventually moved on, but our nine-year-old, like my husband and I struggled with the thought that one day there was a baby and the next there simply wasn’t. Where did that baby go? Why did it leave? Why don’t we have someone tangible to blame?
October 10th was our due date. When it came and went without the new baby, it renewed our sense of sadness. Now looking at newborn infants reminds us of the child that never was. As the years go by, all our family photographs will be incomplete, the older child and now the youngest child is missing. The possibility and potential these lives had gone in the blink of an eye.opinion
We don’t talk about pregnancy loss the same way we speak of the loss of a toddler, or child. Only the immediate family understands that there ever was a child there that is now missing. Neighbors, friends, and extended family might not even know that there was a pregnancy that ended. Millions of women every year go through this loss, but because it ends privately with the family it isn’t seen as the same thing a child passing away, it is just one of the sad facts of life. 1 in four pregnancies end, and now we are part of that club that no woman wants membership in.

Faking It

I grew up the youngest of three homeschool children, actually the youngest of five children but my parents didn’t discover homeschooling until my oldest two siblings were in high school, there is a twelve-year gap between my oldest brother and my second oldest sister. So when my sister started Kindergarten my parents discovered homeschooling, pulled her out and decided to homeschool their youngest three children, leaving the older two to finish up high school since they were essentially done with it anyway. That being said I always figured I could homeschool, after all I had been a student how hard could it be to become the teacher. When my son was born it was a given, I knew I was going to homeschool I didn’t really even consult my husband, though we did discuss it a little bit. With our oldest and our next child there was a bit of a gap, our oldest was five when we had our second child, so our oldest started schooling when there was a new born baby in the house, and it was a struggle to find our groove.

As we struggled through kindergarten I had so many doubts. Maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was a combination of things, but I really wondered if I was able to do this, and yet we made it through kindergarten with a newborn, and then through first grade with a newborn and a one-year-old. Second grade with two toddlers, now two and three, and as third grade approaches in the fall I will have three in school as we plan to start preschool with our four-year-old and we figure since our youngest is a firm believer in anything my brother can do I can do also, she will probably be joining him in the preschool arena. That being said most days I still feel like I am faking it.

This morning when I woke up, got my coffee and my Homeschool Mom’s Bible I went out on our porch for my meditation time I turned appropriately to the devotional for May 30th titled “Over my head”, where the author writes how she attempted to teach her daughter piano even though she didn’t know much about the instrument sans a few lessons in her own childhood. She was over her head and finally had to find help from an outside source to teach her daughter how to play the piano because she knew that she couldn’t do it alone.

So many times during our homeschool journey I have found myself in over my head. My oldest, though a whiz at math, science and engineering, is entering third grade this fall with a rudimentary understanding of English. It absolutely terrifies me, especially since I have such a love for the written word. I struggle with the notion that he is not a strong reader, even though I know that in many ways he can out do me in Math, and there are days when I feel like a complete failure because he doesn’t read as well as I think he should. Instead of embracing the journey most days I am just faking it.

 

Reading Readiness Has To Do With The Body

Considering the struggle I have had with Ben this was well worth the read. Praying that I learn the patience to teach him how to read when he is ready to learn so that he will have a life-long love of reading.

Laura Grace Weldon

reading readiness, kids sit too much, Sitting down. (public domain by Jusben)

Today’s kids sit more than ever. Babies spend hours confined in car seats and carriers rather than crawling, toddling, or being carried. As they get older their days are often heavily scheduled between educational activities and organized events. Children have 25 percent less time for free play than they did a generation ago, and that’s before factoring in distractions like TV or video games.

Left to their own devices, children move. They hold hands and whirl in a circle till they fall down laughing. They beg to take part in interesting tasks with adults. They want to face challenges and try again after making mistakes. They climb, dig, and run. When they’re tired they like to be rocked or snuggled. Stifling these full body needs actually impairs their ability to learn.

Sensory experience and fun. (CC by 2.0 Micah Sittig)

We…

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Tomorrow – Who Is Next?

This brought a tear to my eye. Brian’s life was so important and ended so soon. I don’t always think about Anna’s own husband being a police officer I just enjoy her blogs. When something this tragic happens though I am reminded that this beautiful woman’s husband also puts his life on the line to protect us. I hope you all will read this post and I hope that you will share it and remind each other daily that these officers who risk their lives for you deserve your respect. No more looting, no more violence, and no more acting like the cops are the bad guys. Dad would say that we have all be transported to some Bizzarro world. Cops are the good guys, thugs, criminals, murders, scum that shoot cops are the bad guys. Let’s remember Brian’s name and honor him, not the piece of garbage that took his life.

This House Is Our Home

NYPD

I woke up this morning and saw his face everywhere. I kept hoping that it was just another rumor, and that someone had it wrong. I felt the ache wash over me, that pain in my heart that had only just begun to heal.

I saw his face, his body dressed in that familiar blue, his eyes made serious for his official picture. 25 years old – and gone. Officer Brian Moore. Who will mourn him? Who will even remember his name?  The names of violent criminals have become common on the lips of everyone in this country, while his name, and the thousands more like him go quietly to their graves, their sacrifice deemed less important on the nightly news than the birth of a royal child overseas or a has-been celebrity’s big announcement.

There is no way to explain what happened. Not this time, nor any other.

All…

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Shame or Criticism

What is with all the shaming? Any time we disagree with something, we are shaming each other. There are pictures of babies holding signs, “shaming” their behavior. Pictures of animals “shaming” their behavior. More recently and what really got my attention was this dad’s letter that went viral in which he writes “I am not surprised to see the dress code shaming come into my house”. What the heck is dress code shaming? Well in his case it is where his daughter didn’t follow the schools dress code and they made her change. In reality though she broke a rule at school and was asked to remedy that. There really isn’t any shaming involved.

The Mariam Webster Dictionary defines shaming as “A painful emotion cause by consciousness of guilt shortcoming of impropriety” So I guess you could say she was dress code shamed, if she knew she broke the rule and felt guilty for it. The thing is this, and it is quite simple actually. We should to a certain degree feel guilty about our actions when our actions cause harm to others. I don’t think the young girl felt guilty about being asked to change out of her favorite dress, maybe disappointed but I doubt she felt guilty. I wonder if she felt a painful emotion? Disappointment? Oh my, we cannot have that. We cannot have anyone feeling disappointed that would just be wrong. (sarcasm noted).

Not to long ago singer Michael Buble was also accused of shaming. I think in his case he was accused of body shaming. His crime he posted a picture to Instagram that his wife took. In the background was a young woman wearing short shorts and he said “baby got back”. Um, is that a compliment? I honestly don’t know if it was meant as a compliment or not, but it doesn’t seem like a shameful thing.

Blogger, Melissa McEwan created the hashtag #FatMicroagression to bring attention to the inappropriate and hurtful comments directed at overweight people. One person who responded to the hashtag said that “People loudly complaining how fat they are when they are the same size or smaller than you”, was her definition of fat microagression, leaving me wondering if simply commenting on anything at all will soon be seen as a form of shaming.

Slate.com writer Mark Peters hits the nail on the head in his article “Shame on Everyone; Just because you don’t like someone’s criticism doesn’t meant they are ‘shaming’ you”. I love it, I actually want to reach through the screen and give this Mr. Peters a big kiss. Thank you. His big argument is that like certain other words, shaming has become an overused word.

Guys who are tired of being called creeps have absurdly claimed creep-shaming, for instance. Breast-feeding advocates are sometimes accused of formula-shaming moms. I’ve also seen social-media-shaming, tattoo-shaming, luxury-shaming, attendance-shaming, snack-shaming, bigot-shaming, privilege-shaming, salary-shaming, single-shaming (i.e., shaming the nonmarried or nonattached), fedora-shaming, Drake-shaming, and filter-shaming. This last word was used, with all apparent sincerity, in an article by an acne sufferer who felt “shamed” for her use of Instagram filters by “selfie queens” (a term someone else will have to unpack).

Shaming isn’t a new concept. Parents use shame as a form of punishment to get their children to behave. Courts have used shame as a way to punish offenders. Shaming is also a technique used by abusive people to divert attention away from their own behavior. Shaming is a real problem, so it is unfortunate that we overuse it. Saying something is shaming when it is just criticism takes away from pain and humiliation suffered by actual shaming.

OUT of the FOG, which stands for Fear Obligation and Guilt, focuses on information and support for family or friends of people who suffer from personality disorders, explains what shaming really is.

Shaming is a technique used by abusive people to divert attention away from their own behavior and issues by putting pressure on a victim so they can maintain control. The victim is put into an impossible situation, where they feel they are inherently flawed and so can never measure up to the standards being imposed on them, and therefore must dedicate themselves to attempting to make up from their badness.

Some examples of shaming statements include:

“You were a mistake”

“You could never do what he/she does”

“You’ve ruined my life”

“We are all disappointed in you”

“Shame on You!”

There is a huge difference between shame and criticism and it is time we start seeing the difference.

You Have an Opinion, How Nice

The internet is a great place to get into arguments with complete strangers. It is easy to be hateful and rude because you can keep your anonymity. Recently a pro-life page started ranting about homosexuality, and how hard it is for homosexuals to adopt. Anyone and everyone who said that they felt homosexuality was wrong was attacked. The post started off attacking and putting these people on the defensive, if they had an opinion that went against the mainstream they were the problem. Once put on the defensive and left to respond more posts popped up, calling these individuals out. Have an opinion, how nice, just be sure that you do not go against the political correct craze that has taken over.
For the purposes of honest and upfront discord, I do not believe in homosexuality. I do not believe that homosexuals exist in every facet of life. I do not believe that gigantic billboard that screams “Someone you love is gay.” I do not support homosexual marriage, and I do not believe that a couple should be allowed to adopt just because they are homosexual, I also do not believe that homosexuals have a hard time adopting. That was the point of the pro-life post. That it is one thing to be pro-life and to want an end to abortion but we must also support and fight for homosexuals to be allowed to adopt.
Personal experience has shown me at least in the Bible belt where I reside that homosexuals have no problems adopting. The adoption foster care class that my husband attended had a lesbian couple in it, and a Christian couple. The Christian couple was told that they would not be allowed to adopt when they expressed outrage that there was a homosexual couple in the class. The social worker explained that their attitude toward homosexuality was not healthy and that they were not a good match for the adoption foster care program. So much for being allowed to have an opinion, you can, of course, have one if it agrees nicely with the PC crowd, how is that for equality?
That is part of the reason I am writing this post. Not to see how much outrage I can stir up; I am sure that there will be a few people who find my opinion wrong, who will attack me for it. The thing is we should all be allowed an opinion, and there are no wrong opinions. If you find my words to be offensive, that is your opinion of them, it is not wrong though any more than my opinion is wrong. If we all thought, felt, and said the same things how boring life would be. Without differing opinions, we would have no art, no music, no writing. Life would not be worth living if we all agreed on everything, we need these differing opinions to grow. Shouting down the opposition or telling them, they are uncaring or calling them names is no way to win an argument. My opinion about homosexuality aside, I think you will find that I am not a bad person. Perhaps through open discourse, through discussion that limits the name calling I can persuade you to see things my way, or perhaps you will be able to persuade me to see things your way. You won’t, however, win me over, by telling me that I am hateful, or that my words spew hate, just because my opinion differs from yours.

To the complete and total strangers at Costco:

Another common sense look at large families, and she writes so well, I only wish I was this talented.

Chewing Crayons

Dear complete and total strangers at Costco,

I know you watched as we navigated our vehicle into the crowded parking lot.  You stood in awe as we wedged our trendy 15 passenger mega-van into a parking space between a 2 door Miata and a very roomy shoe box- on-wheels deemed a Smart Car. You saw us attempt to unload our family with as much class, decorum and organization as we could humanly muster… and 23 minutes later file toward Costco with our seven *progeny and three carts for our weekly shopping trip.

I can only imagine your thoughts as one wailing child donned an open-toed sandal on his right foot and a rubber boot covered in duct tape on the left. You correctly saw that a second child was wearing pajama pants that are at least three sizes too short, paired with a faded Thomas The Train pajama shirt, because…

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