Sex and Idiots

So I saw this on one of my local “Ask – Insert Name of City Here” Facebook pages last night.  This is real.  This is not a drill.

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Why was she just now wanting to see if she was pregnant if her last period was three months ago?   Why didn’t she try to sort this out two and a half months ago after she was sure she wasn’t getting a period?  Also, birth control doesn’t give false negatives or positives.  Only fertility drugs do that, and they can give false positives, not negatives.

But most importantly, what in the HOLY HELL is a “bleach pregnancy test” and how is it even effective?  Just in case anyone isn’t aware, pregnancy tests look for HCG hormones in your urine or blood.  Okay moving on.

 

I googled it.

Apparently this is how a bleach pregnancy test is conducted:

  1. Go into a well ventilated room
  2. Pour a cup of fresh bleach
  3.  Piss in a separate cup
  4. Combine the two and watch for the fantastic results!
  5. If it fizzes, you’re pregnant

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Mmmmmm…cuppa pee.  Nice.

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So I googled some more.  Surely this was a joke.  Surely no one believes any of that right?

I was wrong.  There are articles with comments (don’t even get me started on the other DIY tests.  I just can’t) of women who actually tried this!  There are freakin YOUTUBE VIDEOS!

Women are pissing in cups of bleach to find out if they’re pregnant instead of heading to the nearest CVS or even the Dollar Store to grab a real test to piss on!  And what’s worse, NONE of them seem to know what’s actually happening chemically here!

I just.  I can’t.

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How is this happening?  WHY is this happening?

Fun fact.  When you combine ammonia (found in urine) with bleach what do you get?

DING DING DING!  That’s right folks, you get mustard gas!  Yay!!!  Why does it fizz?  Well that’s called a chemical reaction!  When men pee on bleach it can fizz too!  There are some fun comments where the people ended up in the ER and the nurses LOL’d at them when they admitted what they’d done.

This myth was created by some internet troll who knew that some idiot would piss on a cup of bleach just to find out if she was pregnant sooner.  Because that’s the world we live in now.  Getting everything now now now!  In reality, said troll was probably cruelly hoping that the person would gas themselves.  Legit people.  It’s all over the internet, and people are doing this.  How are we all still alive?

Which brings me to my discussion today.

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I know, I know, sex education can give some of you parents a serious case of the willies.  (hehe pun intended)  No one wants to think about their baby getting it on with anyone no matter how old they are.  But seriously THIS.  This utter insanity is why we need better sex education in school.  Not abstinence education.  Not fear mongering sex ed.  For real, because when you don’t inform teenagers of their options and resources, they resort to dumb ass shit like pissing on bleach!  Or putting dandelions in a cup of their urine to see if it develops red marks on it.  Just…what?  Guh.  Don’t even get me started on the This American Life podcast that talked about sex education.  Kids these days are watching professional porn to get an idea of how to properly have sex.  I don’t know about you, but I only WISH I looked like a porn star when I had sex.

The USA has a long failed history of teaching its youngins about sex and the like.  The thought seems to be that maybe if we don’t talk about it, then kids won’t have sex?  Or maybe if we just tell them not to do it then they won’t.  Wrong!  Teens have been horny since the dawn of time and there isn’t any changing that.  They’ve been banging away whether you want them to or not, so the question here is do you want them to be safe about it?  Or do you want a bathroom of mustard gas and a potential ER visit?

So when I was a teenager I went to a Christian high school.   A very conservative one at that.  Now, Christian teens are not immune to the roller coaster that is puberty, and the teachers were well aware of this fact.  It could have been the powerful aroma of armpit in the hallways, unsuccessfully covered up with cologne and deodorant.  Or maybe it was all the eye sex.  (I was certainly guilty of that!)

Other than the awkward 5th grade “class” in which they separated the boys from the girls and told us girls all the horrible things that would happen to our vaginas, and all the un-horrible things that would happen to their penises, there wasn’t much education.  I think we got a basic birds and the bees talk, but honestly, who remembers a conversation from when they were ten?  Sure there was the brief “health” class in middle school in which we lightly touched on procreation but there wasn’t much to discuss.  We knew the basics.  But that was it.

In high school my conservative sex education consisted of a speaker coming to our Wednesday chapel service and bringing up a slide show of gruesome STD photos.  Mangled penises and pus covered vaginas traumatized the entire crowd for the rest of the day.  The speaker then took the guilt trip route next and reminded us that when we slept with a person, we were also getting into bed with every person they’d ever slept with too and vice versa.  And didn’t we want to be pure for our partners?  That when we finally took our marriage vows, we could be confident that our marriage bed was pure and sacred.  Because that’s what God wanted.

Afterwards a large poster board was produced and colorful sharpies spread around.  We were told that if we wanted to be pure for God, and practice abstinence then we were to sign our names, thus signing a contract with God.  Of course I signed.  Everyone signed.  Did I keep that agreement?  Wouldn’t you like to know?

But let’s backtrack.  Where in any of those discussions were the important bits?  Sure I can’t blame them for not talking about sex as a pleasurable experience.  I’m sure they were all breathing sighs of relief knowing that the majority of us were too terrified of getting chlamydia to even consider taking our clothes off.  The whole point was to pound into our skulls the blazing message of SEX BAD!  GET PREGNANT!  STD’S!

Mean Girls

But where in there was the actual information?  Like, if we did decide to have sex, where could we get condoms?  Birth control or pregnancy tests?  What were the symptoms of being pregnant, and where could we go to find out?  Nooooone of that was discussed!  These were important issues!  You can’t just tell a teen to “not have sex” and then let them run off.

According to statistics, the US leads the world in teen pregnancy rates, and states that prescribe abstinence only education tend to have more pregnant teens than those that actually teach about sex.  Do the Google.  The information is there.  Abstinence only education does. not. work.

Now why is that?  Well, I can remember being a teen.  I can remember feeling the push of rebellion within me, especially when it came to guys I liked.  The more my family disliked a boy I was dating, the more in love I was with him.  Just think about that for a bit.  Go ahead and tell a teenager that they can’t have sex just because you say so.  See how well that turns out.  No one wants their teenagers to have sex.  I certainly don’t want my daughter to have sex before she’s an adult, but I can only control her actions up to a certain point and just hope for the best.  The fact is, that the average teenager does not wait until college let alone marriage.

I’m pretty sure there’s an entire TV show dedicated to teenage pregnancy in America for a reason.  What was it?  Oh yeah, Teen Mom.

It just shouldn’t be like this.  Sex isn’t a scary monster of doom, sweeping down on gargoyle wings to steal the innocence of your children.  Predators are scary.  Rapists are scary.  But just sex?  Consensual sex?  Why is that so taboo that we can’t even talk about it to our kids?

And you’d think with the immediate access to YouTube that teens have would give them a plethora of information, but that can be dangerous.  That bleach video was on YouTube though sooooo.  It says it’s legit, and works every time.  While kids CAN YouTube to their hearts delight, it’s still up to you to make sure what they’re watching depicts accurate information.  What’s even more concerning is that your kids can do their “research” all on their own without your knowledge.  They’ve got phones.  Your kid might consider themselves a sex expert before you even think to whip out the birds and the bees talk.

Talk to your kids folks.  It’s up to you.  Because God knows the education system isn’t giving them the resources that they need to function as responsible, sexually active human beings.  Teach them the importance of wearing a condom, of taking birth control if they don’t want to get pregnant, and what the symptoms of pregnancy are.  Talk to them about STD’s too and why it’s so important to get a yearly physical for those downstairs areas.  Even more important is where they can go if they are pregnant or do contract an STD.  That you can take them to a clinic to get checked out.  That you’ll be there with them if they need to make important decisions and that you’re not actually going to “kill them.”  I’m sure you’d much rather be angry at your kid for making a mistake but take them to get prenatal care, than find out about their pregnancy from a news channel when they have their baby in a back alley and leave it in a dumpster.  Because that happens too.

And to wrap this fun filled post up, here are some helpful websites for all of you parents that want to keep your kid on the right track to being safe:

Sex, Etc.

About Health 

Scarlet Teen

And if you decide that abstinence only education is good enough for your baby because it was good enough for you?  Well when you’re facing a bathroom filled with mustard gas and a pregnant teen…

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What You Don’t Know

I’m pro choice.  This might upset some of you.  It might prevent you from reading further into this article, but so be it.

This needs to be said, because I’ve seen one upsetting Facebook post too many today.

Pro Choice does NOT EQUAL Pro Abortion

I am sick to death of people spewing such a disgusting statement around.  I promise you, that NO ONE.  I repeat, NO ONE is “Pro Abortion”.  There is no sane person on this planet that sits around thinking that they’d just love it if people could just abort more babies.

I’m Christian, but I am not going to bring the bible into this at all because in a country where we are free to choose our own religion, MY religion should have absolutely no impact on what you decide to do with your own uterus.

Can I just say that people these days LOVE and I mean loooooove to control people?    (Who can marry who, how many babies you can or can’t have, what you can do with your uterus, who you can and how many sexual partners you can have, etc…)

And can I also say that people these days THRIVE on fear tactics?  While I don’t like either candidate this election, I literally cringed when I saw the fear tactic based article on Facebook stating that “Hillary wants to rip apart babies.”

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Here’s some education on “partial birth” or “late term” abortions that you may not realize through no fault of your own.

FUN FACTS:

  1. While they do happen, these types of abortions are rare. You cannot just go into a Planned Parenthood and say, “You know, I’m not really feeling like having this baby anymore.  I know I’m in the 2nd/3rd trimester but I decided I don’t want it.  Can you kill it please?  K thanks bye.”

NO!  You do not just do this.  No self respecting women’s clinic or even Planned Parenthood is going to sign off on this without a legitimate reason.  They don’t just take the baby out because you don’t want it anymore at that stage.  They are going to tell you to GTFO and probably refer you to some counseling.

In fact, there aren’t a whole lot of physicians in America that are even willing to perform this procedure, and only when it is necessary.  In most states, you can’t find anyone.

Part of my job involves reviewing medical records involving babies who have been born with birth defects.  In the five years that I’ve been reviewing these records, I have come across one case out of over a thousand where a mother sought to have this procedure performed because her baby was severely deformed and it was discovered too late.  No one would do it.  No one!  She desperately went from state to state, hospital to hospital, getting one “no” after another.  Her child was born with life long, debilitating conditions that will follow this mother until she dies.  He will never have a normal life.  He will live in constant pain.  He will never get married, speak, feed himself, walk or go to school.

  1. This type of abortion is traumatizing for the parents.  These women are not monsters.

The few and far between women who seek and are given this type of procedure are as follows

Scenario 1:          The pregnancy is going to kill the mother.  Example.  Mom gets pregnant, and halfway through the pregnancy finds out she has aggressive uterine cancer.  She needs treatment right away or she is going to die.  Removing the uterus will kill the baby, and chemo is poison.  She’s going to have to choose.  Keep the baby and risk the cancer killing her before the delivery, perhaps even killing the both of them.  OR, abort the child and receive a life saving treatment.

Do you think a woman makes that choice lightly?  Do you think she doesn’t live with that decision every day for the rest of her life?  That’s just ONE scenario among many that forces a mother to make that decision, and you’re going to prevent her that option?  You’d rather that both of them die?  Or just her and the child grows up without a mother?  Why is this YOUR choice?  Why isn’t this HER choice?

Scenario 2:          A later ultrasound reveals that the child has a severe or fatal condition.  Either the child is going to be a vegetable for the rest of his/her life, or the child will only live for minutes/days after birth only to suffer.  Could you say that if faced with this decision that you wouldn’t want to prevent your child from needlessly suffering?  I’ve never been in that situation so I’m not sure what I would do, and I hope I never ever have that experience.  But after becoming a mother and I look at my healthy baby girl I can’t say that I wouldn’t have made that choice knowing that she would suffer for the rest of her life.

If you’ve ever been pregnant, then you know what a joy it is to hear that heartbeat for the first time.  To feel that first kick, and know that soon you’ll be holding that tiny bundle.  Women in this position experience that just like you did, except their pregnancies are suddenly DESTROYED by forces beyond their control.  All hopes and dreams of becoming a mother to a healthy happy child are shattered, and meanwhile people all over the country are JUDGING them for the most terrifying and horrible situation they’ve ever been in.

You have no idea.

I have talked to these moms.  The ones that have chosen to keep their children, carry them and care for them for the rest of their lives.  Do they regret it?  Some of them, yes.  They look at their 8 year old who has never and will never be able to have the ability to communicate at all, who will get bedsores if they don’t turn them over several times a day, who are in obvious pain and on a slew of medications that are destroying their kidneys and liver.  Some of them have tearfully admitted in soft whispers over the phone to me that they wish they had known this would happen so that they could have made the choice to prevent their child’s birth, and I don’t judge them for a minute.  Neither should you.

If you haven’t thanked your lucky stars for your healthy child, then you need to and be so happy that you’ve never been faced with such a decision.  That while you had your baby shower, met your baby, gazed wearily at him/her in their crib and felt all that love in your heart expand, they felt a hole of darkness.  A gaping hole where that love should have been filled up.  They sold their brand new baby clothes, packed up the crib and shut down their registries.  I listen to these moms EVERY.  DAY.

Needless to say I was scared shitless when I became pregnant, and I breathed the longest sigh of relief when Lilly was born healthy.

And I know there are women out there who have lost their children to miscarriage, and women who are endlessly trying to conceive to no avail.  Women who are disgusted by abortions, and I understand the feeling.  When I was struggling to conceive my child, I was filled with anger at every abortion story I came across.  I wanted to scream “I’ll take your baby!  Don’t throw it away!”

But then I’d realize that it was not my body carrying that child.  It was not my circumstances pushing that decision.  I am in no place to control any other person, and neither are you.  You don’t have to like abortion.  You can be repulsed by them.  I understand.  Abortion is devastating, and I wish no one felt that they needed one but that’s not the world that we live in.  I am not, and will not ever presume to know what’s best for anyone else.  I would rather a safe option be available to women, than have them conducting these procedures in back alleys, or hotel rooms where they bleed out or die from infection.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about go watch that old movie with Cher in it called “If These Walls Could Talk” and tell me what you think after you watch that mom bleed out on a table.

I am heartbroken to read stories such as this one in Texas where a mother was forced to wait while her baby died, watch it slowly perish in fetal distress and deliver the stillborn baby, all because laws were preventing from them from hurrying the procedure along to prevent further suffering.  There was no saving that baby.  They did everything they could.  What would you have had her do?

But at least educate yourself before you start posting fear tactic filled statements about how Planned Parenthood “loves abortion” or that anyone wants to “rip babies apart”.  It just makes you look ignorant, and it saddens me every time I see it.

You can hate abortion, and despise its obvious necessity as women receive them every day, but don’t you dare try to decide that you know a woman better than she knows herself.

In Texas alone there are over 1,500 unwanted children in the foster care system.  1,500 children with no mother and father.  Who are being bounced between foster homes, feeling unloved, and neglected.  Just let that sink.

I don’t support abortion.  I support a woman’s right to know what is best for her life and her body.

You don’t have to like it.  But you also don’t have to judge.  Don’t you think these women have suffered enough?

Early Morning Ruminations

It’s 5:30 am, and I’m awake thinking.  My husband is feeding our daughter the milk I pumped at 5:00 and I’m supposed to be writing for NaNoWriMo, but I’m having a hard time concentrating.  I woke up to this.

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I don’t have cable TV, so I didn’t see the news until I woke up.  As I sat there in the dark and began to scroll through my Facebook, I was overwhelmed by #pray4Paris posts, and as I learned about what I happened I was astounded once again by the capability we humans have to hate one another.  I don’t know why these terrorists killed so many people, and what the answer is to this crisis.  I see my friends demanding that the President take action.  But what exactly is he supposed to do?  The killers are dead or in hiding, and no official terrorist organization has claimed responsibility.

Sometimes I feel like Americans expect us to go busting into a country at the slightest sign of trouble like:

America

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhnUgAaea4M

But it’s not that simple.

But another thing I noticed along my feed was the plethora of posts praying for people we don’t even know.  As appalled as I am by the amount of hate humans can express towards one another, I am always overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of love we shower over people in need.  I’m glad to see that America is offering aid to those who need it, and that we stand ready to help in any way that we can.  We don’t have to rush over there, guns blazing in a blind rage.  But we will be ready to stand beside them shoulder to shoulder if they need us.

And of course because we aren’t all in the military or part of an organization who has the means to “actually” go over there to help them, there are other ways that you can help.  How can you help?  Donate to the French Red Cross.  The American Red Cross is not accepting donations at this time for the Paris attacks, but the French Red Cross has already mobilized to help those in need.  They can certainly use our help.

Donate to the French Red Cross Here

That’s not the only thing on my mind though.  I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year, and it’s tougher than it’s ever been for me.  For those of you reading who don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is a writing competition that takes place during the month of November.  You have exactly one month to write 50,000 completely unique words in the form of a novel.   You can’t have pre-written anything either, although you can brainstorm.  I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo in 2011, 2012, and 2013.  Last year I was too pregnant and too tired to compete.  My brain was being sucked dry by my growing daughter.  So this year since my body is my own again, I decided to compete and I’ve been consistently a day behind.  It’s very hard to keep up with the writing quota when you’re caring for a baby.  🙂  I’m not complaining.  It’s just a fact.

I’ve noticed things that have changed about my life since Lilly was born.  I don’t write that often.  I don’t blog that often.  I rarely play video games anymore, and my house is always a mess.  (although my house was always a mess before, but now I can blame it on being a mom)

But none of those things bother me.  My daughter is the most exciting thing in my universe and I couldn’t be happier.  She is healthy, extremely happy, and just the most beautiful little girl that I have ever seen.  She fascinates me more than anything, and she is everything that I ever wanted.  I knew I wanted to be a mom, but it wasn’t until she was born that I understood just how much I could love someone, and it is overwhelming.  A friend of mine once told me that being a mother will make you feel more vulnerable than anything you will ever experience again, and she was right.

My daughter is 8 months old now if you can believe it.  She’s crawling (guh!), standing up with the aid of furniture and is saying “mama” when upset and “dadadadadada” 90% of the rest of the time.  My husband is pleased.  🙂

Here are some updated photos of everyone.

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Who had a Harry Potter party?  Um…WE DID!  Yeah, we’re that cool.  Be jealous if you weren’t there.  Message me if you want to be next year.  🙂

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Guys, I can’t even!  She’s going to be running all over my house at any second!

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And some super sweet cuteness.  Finger painting in the bath tub.  Don’t worry, it was just yogurt and food coloring.  She ate most of it.

Let’s start today on a good note.  I’m going to say a prayer for Paris, send a donation to the French Red Cross, and try to get my word count in before I get distracted again.  Peace.

I Do it Myself

This Thursday will mark my daughter’s first month of life, and my first official month as a mother.  It’s been very hard to keep up with my normal hobbies.  It was even hard at the end of the pregnancy when all I wanted to do was sleep.  It didn’t help that my last two weeks were wrought with consistent early labor contractions.  I had to work from home for the last two weeks.  Not fun.  I’ve learned that although those hurt, they’re nothing compare to active labor.  However, there’s nothing like walking and having your stomach seize up like a charlie horse in your stomach.

Anyway, my mother friends warned me that the first couple of months of having a baby would be survival mode.  Boot camp.  Hellish even.  I nodded in agreement, and secretly hoped that Lilly would be that one exceptional baby that slept through the night, hardly cried and ate really well.  Of course she wasn’t.  She’s a baby.  I certainly got the latter though.  Our Lilly eats her weight in mama’s milk every day.  Check out my cutie pie before I get into my topic.

 

At birth she was feisty already!  Just like her mama!

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She’s super cute all the time.

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So this brings up my discussion.  Pride.  I don’t know if it’s postpartum or hormones but I doubt myself A LOT.  There are times where I look at her and the tears well up because I’m just so freakin tired.  I worry that I’m not enriching her enough, or that I literally just feed her and put her down to sleep.  I worry that I’m doing the bare minimum, and that I’m a bad mother.  Turns out most moms feel that way, and that’s just what newborns do.  They eat, poop, and sleep.

But here’s where pride comes in.  I had a cesarean.  Little girl was not so little.  She was born at 9 lbs 6 oz with a cord wrapped around her neck, so she didn’t come out the natural way.  Sure c sections aren’t as big of a deal as they used to be.  Incisions are so much smaller, and it took them less than five minutes to get her out, and much more time to put me back together.  Regardless of how much easier they are to perform, you’ve still undergone major abdominal surgery in which layers of muscle and skin were cut through.

Far too many women try to get back to their normal routine too quickly, only to end up back in the hospital.  Myself included.  I was warned!  But I was too proud to ask for help.  Justin went back to work after a week, and although my sister came on the weekends to help me, I was still easily worn out.

I thought I was fine.  All new mommies are tired zombies.  Little did I know then that the stress and fatigue causes mastitis (infection of the breasts).  Next thing I knew, my poor boobs were red, painful and swollen.  I was miserable and within a day I was at a 101.4 fever being whisked to the hospital by Justin at 11:00 pm with the baby in the backseat.  I spent the next three days in the hospital fighting a resistant infection that took three separate antibiotics to kill.  A week later, I just now finished taking the last of my pill antibiotics.  I’m so lucky to have a responsible, helpful husband that took care of Lilly 24/7 in the hospital while I lay there shivering, sweating, groaning and crying.

I had people offer to help me before I got sick.  I should have taken them all up on it.  People offered to come over and clean, watch the baby, or just let me sleep.  But in my mind I was fine!  I almost felt semi back to normal, and who on Earth feels comfortable with a friend coming over to clean your house?  Not me!  I’d rather parade myself outside naked then let someone clean my house.  But there’s my pride again.

I finally let go of that pride in the hospital.  It wasn’t about me.  Lilly is my number one priority now, and I can’t take care of her if I’m sick.  I can’t keep her happy if I’m sleep deprived and nodding off while holding her.  I let my sister come to the hospital at 5:00 am so Justin could shower and head off to work.  I let my parents buy me a full list of groceries, and when I got home I let my sister deep clean my house as disgusting as it was while my parents cleaned out my fridge.  I haven’t been afraid to give Lilly to Justin when he gets home if I need to shut my eyes for just a few moments.  Those are the things I have to do in order to take of her.

My sister made a good point to me at the hospital.  It’s like when you’re on the airplane and they tell you that if the oxygen masks come down, to put one on yourself before putting one on a child.  You can’t take care of the kid if you’re passing out from oxygen deprivation.  The same goes for everything else.

A women named Colleen that I met on the bus told me something wise once, and it was her advice that finally sunk in within the last few weeks.  She told me to let people help me if they offered.  She said that God put that act of love on their heart.  That it does you no good to deny them that help.  That if you keep denying the people that love you that act, then they ‘ll eventually stop offering or caring.  So I let my sister help me, and I let my parents spend their money on me.  Was it hard?  Yeah!  I felt like I was swallowing a big pill every time I agreed, but each time it made my life easier, which in turn helped me care for my baby.

This should apply to everything in life.  If you find yourself in trouble, and those that love you are offering to help, LET THEM.

End rant.

Oh, and here’s more pictures as a thank you for reading.  🙂  Maybe I just like showing off my adorable offspring.

 

I MADE THIS!

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The Mythical Paternal Instinct

I have a bone to pick with society.

We are a society filled with women screaming for gender equality. Women want to be seen as equals to men in all aspects. We want to be seen as more than baby making factories and taken seriously. I understand this. I agree with this. Women want to be able to be a mom, a physician, an attorney or whatever they want to be. I have no problem with this. But it seems like through all of this a double standard has been created when it comes to birth/parenting.

It seems like women have decided that pregnancy/childbirth/infant parenting is for the mother alone. It’s like a right of passage reserved for only women. Yes, only a woman can give birth, but we shut the door in the faces of men who want to be involved. (No, this is not about my husband being banned from the baby shower. I agree he’d be bored out of his skull once he got there.)  This is about the one too many freakish statements I’ve been told over the last 7 or so months regarding my husband.  I’ve been unsettled too many times during my pregnancy by friends who make statements like,

“I mean it’s nice, but I find it unnerving when a husband is so involved in a pregnancy. It makes me wonder if he has some weird motive…”

“There’s something wrong with a man who is that excited about being a dad.”

Or blanket statements reflecting their own marriages like,

“Be prepared to do everything yourself.”

“Sure your husband says he wants to help now, but just wait until it’s 3am and the baby needs a diaper change. You’ll be the one doing it.”

These kind of statements have been usually followed up with a backtracking statement like,
“But no offense to Justin. I’m not talking about him.”

Really?  Then why did you say it? That’s like when you insult someone and follow it up with “No offense.” If you didn’t mean it as it was said, don’t freakin say it.  Let’s keep our insecurities to ourselves shall we?

When I hear these things, I tend to cock my head to one side in confusion. Why wouldn’t my husband be excited to be a dad? Why wouldn’t he be just as over the moon about this as I am? We both wanted this baby right? We both were devastated by every negative pregnancy test while we were trying right? This wasn’t a one sided thing. If it had been, I would have remained on birth control.

Why is it strange that he’s been to every single scheduled appointment, that he gushes over every tiny article of clothing we’ve been given, or that he touches my belly every day without fail to say hello to his unborn daughter?

Yes, I acknowledge that there are plenty of men out there who don’t take an active role in pregnancy/child rearing but there is nothing wrong with a man who does. It doesn’t make them less masculine. It doesn’t make them strange or unnatural. I don’t know if it’s a hormonal or genetic thing, but that is something to be celebrated not condemned.

Let’s look at from this aspect.  When a woman abandons her child (the way my husbands mother did), she’s a monster.  When a mother hurts her child intentionally or neglects her baby, she’s terrible.  I don’t disagree with this.  But when a father barely involves himself in bonding with his child, or leaves the family for the mother to raise the kid, we all tend to shake our heads but shrug as if it were to be expected.  That phenomenon is strange to me.  Those people have problems.

Whatever happened to paternal instinct?  It’s a real thing.  It’s supposed to happen.  Science says it’s normal.  So why do we brow beat men who are trying to let nature take its course into thinking that they’re less masculine, or weird for doing so?

When it comes to pregnancy everyone immediately flocks to the woman. Yes, that’s where the baby is located, and the mother is going through all of the physical/emotional symptoms, but don’t count out the dad! How nerve wracking it must be for the dad during a pregnancy. He’s completely helpless. He has literally no control over the entire situation. He has to rely on the mother to take care of herself, and wait patiently for close to a year hoping that everything will turn out fine. He doesn’t get to feel the baby moving until much later into the pregnancy, and he has to stand by watching during the birth, hoping that the mother’s body does it’s job getting the baby out alive. At least the mother has some form of control. We make the decisions on what to eat, what vitamins to take, and making sure we tell our doctor if something seems amiss.

I really liked hypedad’s blog post about being an expectant father. Why does society always count out the dad?  Why is it weird for a dad to be so involved.

I don’t even want to ask my friend what she meant about fathers having a “weird motive” when they’re excited about being a dad.  I’m glad she didn’t clarify.  What on Earth could she have meant?  I’ll just go out and say it.  If you think a dad who wants to be involved in his daughter’s life has intentions of a sexual nature, then there is something wrong with YOU, not him.  Has society really twisted our minds that much?  How disgusting.  What other possible weird motive could that statement insinuate?  Sure she backed it up with a “Of course I don’t mean that about Justin.” but still.  Just making that statement alone is insulting in itself.

Or to the other statements.  To automatically assume that he’s going to leave me to do all the work in the middle of the night.  Or that I’ll be the only one feeding her, changing her or snuggling her.  Just because you had an absent husband doesn’t mean that I will.  Maybe there’s something wrong with your man.  Not mine.  I know plenty of friends who have very involved husbands.  Their marriages are healthy and happy.  These men are football loving, beer drinking, video game playing, all American dudes.  So where is the problem?

Justin is excited to hold our baby girl.  He’s excited to have tea parties with her and he’s not afraid to admit it.  He wants her to be smart and love legos the way he did growing up so they can build castles or space ships together.  He wants to send her to science camp, watch her paint with mommy, and see her grow right before our eyes.

If you think there’s something wrong with that, then maybe you have problems.

End rant.

Mommy Diaries #2

Okay, so Justin has insisted that I write another mommy diary.

So today’s topic is about symptoms.  I gotta tell ya, what is supposed to be such a natural process seems SO UNNATURAL when you’re in the thick of it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced a weird symptom only to be told it’s normal and think “Wut?”  “Really???”

Here’s the thing.  Most of your mommy friends are going to lie to you when they’re pregnant.  A lot of pregnant women will smile and say “Great!” when you ask how they’re feeling.  If we’re acquaintances or just friends that will be my automatic response.  For me, great means, my baby is active an healthy, and that I’m grateful not to have any complications.  If we’re close friends my face is going to sag, and I’ll tell you that I’m worn the eff out.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a big baby/whiner by nature.  I have a high tolerance for pain, but really hate being uncomfortable.

But bless those mommies for keeping a positive face.  In reality I guarantee you they are at some level of uncomfortable.   My theory is that they really want you to join the mommy club too, and are afraid if you really knew just what your body was about to endure, you might change your mind.

Now we’ve all heard about morning sickness, and how badly it can ravage your body.  I’m extremely fortunate to have missed that awful symptom.  I did get nauseated several times in the beginning, but it passed.  I never threw up.  Thank God.

Other common symptoms that we hear about are the fun ones like moodiness, acne, bad drainage, heart burn, hemorrhoids, giant boobs of doom, breast pain from the giant boobs of doom, fatigue, and feeling like you want to eat an entire pizza all by yourself.  (Don’t do it though.  It’s a trap!)

Now not all women get the same symptoms, and not all women get certain symptoms at the same time.  It’s really tempting to call a formerly pregnant friend and say,

“Did this happen to you?”

But it’s so hit or miss, that you’d be better off just asking your doctor.  Just don’t Google.  Google is not your friend.  It’s your frenemy, pretending to be your friend with it’s plethora of information, but it’s not really.  If you end up Googling a pregnancy symptom, you are likely to think your baby is dying, or you’ve developed some kind of cancer on top of your pregnancy.

So far I’ve experienced two not so common or widely talked about symptoms.

Venous insufficiency.  That’s where your blood vessels become relaxed due the hormone relaxin, (original name right?) preventing your vessels from constricting while you walk the way they’re supposed to so that your blood will push back up your legs.  So when you walk, all this excess fluid and blood begins to pool in your legs.  If left undiagnosed or untreated, you can develop a blood clot.  You don’t even want to go there.  You’re screwed if you get a blood clot.  So what is there to do about it?  Well you get to wear yourself a brand new sexy pair of support hose!  Support hose are so tight that when you pull them away from your skin and let go, they snap.  They come in sexy colors like black and old granny tan so that everyone will know you’re wearing them.  My personal favorite is the old granny tan.  I wear those a lot.

My second symptom that I’m still adjusting to is rib pain.  As the baby gets bigger your rib cage expands much larger than its original size.  Depending on where the baby is sitting, your right sided rib muscles can stretch out as this happens and even tear!  At some point, your abdominal muscles can separate from one another.  Fun right?  For me, this has been awful.  It causes a lot of nerve pain and feels like you scrapped the skin just under your boobs across the concrete.  Anything touching it hurts, and bras are the devil because they touch it.  But you learn to adapt.  When I’m on the couch, I lean to the right so it stretches out that side.  I try to wear loose clothing, and avoid letting anything touch it when I’m at home.  I also put ice on it.  But that’s about all I can do.

Another thing no one tells you.  Middle of second trimester and on it’s like someone is squashing your lungs.  Have fun walking around very far!  It’s like you were running!  You’ll certainly be huffing and puffing.  And sorry, a correction here.  At that point you no longer walk.  You waddle.  Yes, like a penguin.

People also rarely tell you that your hips will separate.  Yes, I said separate.  That fun hormone relaxin?  Yeah it relaxes your ligaments and tendons around your hip bones too, allowing them to come apart to make more room for the baby.  Hence the waddle.

People who have never been pregnant like to tell you just “enjoy your pregnancy”, and not to be in a hurry for it to be over.  Really?  Cause I’m so ready for my little girl to stop putting her feet up into my rib cage (or her whole head maybe).  I’m ready not to have to need help getting up from a low couch.  I’d also like to be able to hold my pee for more than thirty minutes.

Most importantly I’m ready to meet our little girl!

So yeah!  Fun stuff that your body does when it’s growing a baby!  Thank God you get a baby out of it.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world though.  If you really want a baby, these symptoms are just trivial temporary matters.  They won’t last forever!  Even if it feels like it.  I keep reminding myself that.

Mommy Diaries #1

So I’ve been meaning to write a blog post since I learned that I was pregnant, but it just kept getting put off by other things.

Mostly being pregnant and thus being tired at the end of the work day.  Unfortunately, my book editing has also been put off.  But not for long.  A long Christmas weekend gives me no excuse to procrastinate!  My editor and I anticipate the release of The Mages’ Circle to debut before March at the very latest.  Meaning that it needs to be published before the little one is born!

I just wanted to document this crazy pregnancy journey to get a start on what will be my mommy entries in the future.  This is a bit long.  Sit tight.

I cannot begin to express how thankful I am that this journey finally got its start.  From my Endometriosis diaries (which you can read about in earlier posts) to the recovery/trying to get pregnant part, this seemed like it would never happen.

It’s a terrible feeling being told by a physician that without their help, your percentage chance of getting pregnant is 0%.  Not 1% or even 10%, but 0%.  And that his help will cost roughly $2,000 each time you try.  For us that meant a new credit card or a loan for one try since none of this would be covered by health insurance.  What was worse, that even with his help he said our chances only increased to 8-12%.  What small percentages!  It didn’t seem worth it.  I have too many friends who are going through that same struggle, heartache, and financial burden with no end results.  So we decided not to.

We both started eating better, exercising daily and decided to stop thinking about getting pregnant.  A few of my friends (to my surprise) were concerned and even irritated by our decision to hold off on trying the invasive route.  But I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, when it is supposed to.  Instead, I focused on my book, and then out of the blue I got a cycle that shouldn’t have happened on time the way it did.  We’d been working on our lifestyle changes for four months without fail.  I was really proud of us.

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My irregularity is the one thing I can count on if that makes any sense.  (the PCOS books claimed that if I changed my lifestyle habits that my cycles would start to regulate, but I was stunned when it did)  I instantly called my gyno and asked if we could try the Clomid medication (an ovulation stimulation med) just one more time.  She happily obliged, and this time I took a different approach to how I looked at it.  Instead of it being a hormone based fertility drug, it was a vitamin.  A vitamin that I’d only take for a few days, and that I would forget about.  Justin and I decided to stop thinking about it, and we didn’t at all for a long time.  We focused on work and going to the park each morning to exercise.  It wasn’t until weeks later that I was at work with terrible cramps, expecting to start the most horrendous cycle of my life that I thought something might be amiss.  My breasts were hurting so badly that even a thin shirt caused me issues.  I remember telling my older sister that I was so mad that my endo pain was flaring up again.  It was like a slap in the face and a reminder that my endo could also cause us trouble with getting pregnant.

I’d actually gone to see my gyno the week before regarding abdominal pain, but their pregnancy test came up negative.  I am an impatient person.  I was pissed about it of course, so Justin and I were talking about maybe bypassing the whole treatment route and going straight to in vitro fertilization (IVF) or even adoption.  We just didn’t want to be that couple, ten years later, deep into debt with no results.  And what good is getting a baby if your bank account is severely in the red?  You have to pay for that baby somehow!  After research and many phone calls to clinics, we weren’t sure what to do.  Adoption was going to set us back 20-30k, and IVF was going to put us in the hole anywhere from 13-20k.  I could cut the cost in half if I donated some of the eggs they retrieved (and yes we were really considering this despite the outcry of some of our friends and family).

After finding a clinic with good reviews we decided to go do the IVF route.  It was going to be cheaper than adoption, and we were going to start with applying for a bank loan.  That house would just have to wait.  I had decided that I would tell my boss the next day so that he wouldn’t be alarmed when I began to miss work due to the many appointments that would ensue.  Not to mention the potential days I might be missing because of negative side effects from the many drugs I’d be placed on.  I’d heard horror stories that terrified me.

All day my brain was encouraging me to just take a test.  Now this sometimes happens to me.  A lot of sometimes actually.  I’d make jokes to people that First Response and EPT might actually know my first name because of how many tests I’d purchased in the past on a whim.  It became a “this will make me feel better” expense, often like chocolate to some people or fried chicken.  So I gave in, bought the test, and went home.  I even told my older sister that I was going to take one, and she told me not to get my hopes up as I had so many tests before.  I sat on my couch and downed a large cup of water, deciding not to take the test until after the show Black Box was over.

When I took the test, I didn’t even look at it when I set it on the ground.  Normally, I would stare at it, willing the line to change into a plus sign.  I’d wait the full time listed on the box, all the while checking it every few seconds.  I even came up with little unspoken rules in my head.  Maybe if I didn’t look at it until the time was over, it would work.  Or maybe if I stared at it the entire time, not blinking it would work.  This time, I just wasn’t in the mood.  I was tired.  It was my millionth or so test.  I hadn’t even bothered to mention that I was testing to Justin.

So when I glanced down from the book I’d started reading and saw the plus line staring up at me, stunned doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.  I blinked.  I shook my head.  I picked it up and stared.  I screamed.  I laughed, and then I started hyperventilating with joy.  I won’t lie and say that I told Justin first.  Yes, shake your heads at me.  Justin was upset with me for it, but forgave me.  In my defense, I had to wait three hours for him to get home, and I was NOT going to tell him that news over the phone.  So I called my sister, crying and laughing at the same time.  I scared the shit out of her.  She thought something bad had happened.

I couldn’t wait to tell Justin.  He’d been having a terrible day.  A manager at work had quit earlier that week (no notice), leaving them short handed, and he’d had to work the entire day.  Open to close.  Back in September of 2013 I’d bought this mug from Etsy.

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I hid it in the closet, and pretended it wasn’t there so I’d have it when I needed it.  I grabbed the mug, rinsed it out, and got ready to fill it with hot chocolate to surprise Justin.  This video is from that night when he found out.  (in the video he’s trying to take off his shoes and work stuff, while I’m pestering him to drink the damn drink!  I made an excuse in the video that the cup is for his french press, which he knew he would be getting for our fourth wedding anniversary only a few weeks away.

Once Justin knew it was just a long wait for the 12th week to pass.  Each day I prayed to keep the baby safe and sound because our chances of miscarriage with PCOS were 40%.  Many close friends and family told me not to get excited until after then because of that chance.  I was just happy that my body had figured it out.

Finally we were able to tell Justin’s grandmother who had been recently relocated to Florida from Texas due to the loss of his grandfather only months before.  We were so sad that we couldn’t visit in person to tell her, and even sadder that we wouldn’t be able to tell his grandfather.  We bought her a quail egg with a note inside that read “We’re Pregnant!  Estimated March 2015” and watched her open it over Facetime.  It was SO special.  His grandmother had lost the ability to read due to having Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease, but she was able to read this note.  It touched us even more.  Here is his grandmother finding out with the aid of his aunt Shannon, who was in on it.

For my parents we told them on their wedding anniversary which matched up perfectly with our 12 weeks date.  We bought them each a mug that said “Grandma – Est. March 2015” or “Grandpa” same thing.  They were both so confused!  Only a week before, my father had asked how long we planned on trying before I would decide to get a hysterectomy since that’s one of the few things you can do for Endometriosis that has some permanent effects. Weren’t they surprised! 🙂 This is the first grandchild in the family on my side.

Since then our little girl has been growing and thriving by leaps and bounds each day.  Sometimes I look down as my stomach and I can’t believe she’s already so big!  Or that she’s going to get bigger!  Check out the cute photos of our Lilly, expected on March 12, 2015.

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We’ll have a more updated one in a few weeks.  Right now we’re at 29 weeks.

Here are some fun photos I’ve uploaded comparing her size to fruits and vegetables.

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This last one was taken on Christmas.  🙂

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We can’t wait to see how the rest of this progresses.  More updates to come!  Thanks for being a part of it with us.

 

 

Grudge Glasses

I have a pair of grudge glasses tucked in my purse somewhere.  Their shiny black, thick rimmed glasses with high, sharp, cat-eye corners.  They make me look like a bitch.  Because that’s what I am when I wear my grudge glasses.  A bitch.  However, I don’t view myself that way when I wear them.  I’m vindicated.  I’m right.  Justified.

We all have a pair of grudge glasses tucked away somewhere.  Even us “good Christians”.  They’re out of sight until the moment comes when we need them.  When the old, ugly, office gossip that spread nasty rumors about your work ethic walks by, you slide them on with a smile.  She called you incompetent behind your back, and told everyone that she was having to do your job for you.  You either give her your customer service smile, or your don’t even look up at her as she passes you, yet you do look up when she’s not looking.  You look over her outfit with the eyes of an appraiser.  You scrutinize her tacky skirt like a dealer looks over an old model car he’s going to buy from you.  Just looking at this person brings up every awful thing she said about you.  It winds over and over in your mind like a broken record.  There is nothing nice you want to say to this person.

As soon as she’s gone, you can slip them back out of sight and move on with your business.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Some of us are forced to wear our grudge glasses for a long period of time.  When we’re surrounded by people who have done us wrong.  Family members who lie, friends who have hurt our reputations, or people who just piss us off in general on a daily basis.  Wearing grudge glasses makes it easier to deal with them.  It puts up a barrier between us and them.  They protect you from seeing the good in any of those people so that you won’t be fooled like last time.  They remind us of the wrongs that have been done, and help us to see what mistakes we’ve made by trusting those people so that we’ll never do it again.

Before you know it, you’re wearing your glasses 24/7.  You trust no one.  You begin to see life events in the same way.  Can’t go to a certain theater because of a bad experience, won’t go to a certain restaurant because of one time bad customer service, or even that you stop going to social gatherings all together because they’re full of people who piss you off!  You let these events define you until there’s nothing left but you and your grudge glasses.

Even a person you’ve forgiven can be a victim of your glasses.  You’ve forgiven, but not forgotten.  You watch them with wary eyes, unable to take off the frames, and the moment that person slips up in the slightest they’re on in full force.  It doesn’t matter if it’s days, months, or years after the fact.  Well no wonder they treated me this way!  It happened before!  How stupid of me to let my guard down and subject myself to this torture again.  The events flash before your eyes like movie reels.

I’m not going to say something sappy like “Take off your grudge glasses!”, because that would make me a hypocrite.  I don’t even know how to put mine away permanently.  I will ask however, that you slide them down to your nose or put them on less often.  I will at least try to do that.  If you only view a person from the eyes of an event(s) and not see anything but the bad times, then what do we have left?  When that person dies, you have but the dregs of a human.  The nasty, murky, clouded parts of that person are all that’s left and that to me, is sad.  It’s devastating.

Sometimes I wonder how many people are wearing their grudge glasses when talking to me?  Will I be someone’s bad memory when I die?

So what on Earth can we do?

If you’ve forgiven someone.  I mean really forgiven them, that also means putting the transgressions associated with them, in a box somewhere forever.  You don’t look back inside of that box ever again.  Burn it mentally if you need to.  Forgiveness includes forgetting.  Otherwise, you’re just waiting to dish out those glasses again.  How is that fair?  Would you want someone to treat you like that?

I don’t know what to tell you about people you don’t like, and will never like.  It’s sad, the only thing I can think of is to take the not caring approach.  You either pretend the person doesn’t exist, or move on.

And life.  This one life that we have.  Take them off for life.  Stop letting bad experiences, medical conditions, or the potential for something bad to happen set limitations for you.  Those things should not define you.  They only stand in your way if they do.  Greet each day as if it is brand new, without faults and try to start over.

Just some food for thought this morning, as I laid awake in my bed at 5:00 am.

 

Are You Helping Feed the Fear?

Ebola.  A deadly disease.  We’ve all seen it all over the news right now.  I don’t know about you, but my Facebook has blown up with it since they announced that a Dallas, TX resident came down with it.  Ever since then it seems that everyone, their mom, and their mom’s dog had allegedly come into contact with this guy and “potentially” have contracted the disease.  But nothing of course has been confirmed.

People are terrified.  And it’s driving me insane with how ridiculous is all is.

First, let me just explain a few facts about Ebola:

1.  It is NOT airborne – meaning that you cannot get it if someone is sneezing or coughing in your vicinity.  Unless they sneeze or cough directly into your open mouth.
2.  The virus is spread through bodily fluids – so unless you touched their vomit or copious amounts of diarrhea and then touched your mouth, you’re fine.  Or maybe if you french kissed them.
3.  The disease has about a 21 day life in which it can manifest into symptoms
4.  You are contagious ONLY  when symptoms begin to show

So after reading these facts, you might still be a little afraid.  I understand.  I’m a little freaked out by a disease that can shut down all my organs and lose all my blood through my anus too!  It’s a terrible disease.

But here’s something that I’m certain of.  I AM NOT going to get it.  You are NOT going to get it.

The people who seem to be freaking out most about this are Texans.  I too am a Texan.  Am I worried about getting it?  No!

The infected guy is in an isolated room, surrounded by nurses/doctors in hazmat suits, deep in a hospital, away from people, and is not being released until he is no longer contagious.  It’s like people think that because he’s in Texas, one of the particles in his bodily fluids might somehow escape the hospital, and make it all the way to our homes!  Mercy me!

Everyone wants to talk about all of the people he came into contact with when he returned to the US.  Let’s just go back to number 4 of the facts I listed.  He wasn’t showing any symptoms when he came into contact with other people.  So he didn’t spread the disease.

So far, no one who came into contact with him has come up positive for Ebola.  So why are people still freaking out like an epidemic is about to spread into the US?  There are reasons why an epidemic has happened in Africa, but will not happen here.  The most prominent reason being the control we have over people going in and out of our country.  Even a TSA Pre-Check won’t get you out of submitting to a thermometer checking your temperature for a fever at the airport if you’ve come from an Ebola present location.

Here’s what you can do to stop spreading the fear:

DON’T POST about Ebola in the news.  This does nothing for the situation, and just spreads the panic.   We don’t need to know that some homeless guy might have taken some quarters from the infected dude.  Ebola quarters!  Oh no!

Shut down those who spread the news verbally, trying to convince others that we are on the brink of the next big epidemic.  Politely tell them the facts, or simply walk away from the conversation.

Tell those who won’t listen that they will be fine as long as they follow basic hygiene principals.

Do you know who is benefiting financially from your fear?  News shows broadcasting a constant stream of updates over Ebola.  You’re helping them get ratings through your worries.  Grocery chains and pharmacies selling masks (that won’t help you!), hand sanitizer, soap and Lysol.

I’m going to go ahead and quote a paragraph in World War Z by Max Brooks that really gave me an aha moment:

““Fear,” he used to say, “fear is the most valuable commodity in the universe.” That blew me away. “Turn on the TV,” he’d say. “What are you seeing? People selling their products? No. People selling the fear of you having to live without their products.” Fuckin’A was he right. Fear of aging, fear of loneliness, fear of poverty, fear of failure. Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells. That was my mantra. “Fear sells”.”

It’s true.  Fear does sell.  We’re all so busy freaking out over a disease that has no effect on us that we’re not even focusing on important diseases/virus’ in our own damn backyard!

Do you know what you SHOULD be worried about?  The percentage of unvaccinated children has been rapidly increasing every year because some idiot claimed that vaccines could cause autism.  Even after that theory was fully shot down, there are STILL parents who are doing this.  Meaning that children are spreading it to other children.  Meaning that adults who were not vaccinated are at risk too.  I personally know people who have suffered from this insanity.  A friend gets an illness, who gives it to an infant, who almost dies, but who also spreads it to other unvaccinated adults.  A whole group of people are now sick with a serious virus/disease.  Because of this, the following diseases are thriving in our children when they should be long dead.  All of these have the potential to kill you and your kids if not, cause permanent damage to them:

Meningitis
Polio
Measles
Mumps
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Even more so, you don’t see people freaking out over the fact that HIV and AIDS are still running rampant!  While there is no vaccine for AIDS or HIV, it’s easily preventable, yet people still can’t seem to put on that condom.  Undiagnosed HIV and AIDS will kill you, yet we don’t hear about it on the news.

Stop feeding the fear.  If you’ve done it unintentionally, just stop!  Be cautious of yourself, and your hygiene and you will be fine.  Wash your hands.  Don’t touch surfaces and then touch your mouth.  Stay away from people who appear to be ill.

Don’t these sound like just…normal instructions for I dunno…illness in general?  Shouldn’t you do the same with the flu?  Or a cold?

Calm down people.  You’re not gonna die of Ebola.

Also, enjoy the art created by my little sister Emily Howard depicting the Ebola Virus through clay.  I think it’s pretty.  🙂

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Depression the “Invisible Illness”

People are so quick to judge Robin Williams for his suicide, and others who have done the same.  Calling them cowards, or selfish.

Depression is very hard to understand if you have never been depressed.  Some people have had  days where they find themselves at a crossroads in their lives, unsure of what to do next in order to excel.  It feels a little overwhelming, and can easily bring you down.  There have been times when a loved one dies, and you are drowning in sadness.  You feel like there is nothing that will ever ease that pain.

I won’t stomp on those feelings, but they are not depression.  People like to say that they’re depressed.  Depression is easily confused with grief or frustration.  They both make you feel bad/sad.  Unless you’ve suffered from it first hand, then you realize that they are nothing alike at all.  Depression is an illness.  It’s a problem that won’t just “go away”.  Not even over time.

Depression is when you’re walking into work on a sunny day, and you’re observing the beautiful blue sky, but you feel nothing.  In fact you feel a little resentful.  You begin to realize that you are going to be sitting in at your desk for the next 8 hours, on sunny days like this for the next 10-20 years at some job or another.  A heavy weight pushes down inside you, realizing this thought.  What is the point?  What is the point of all of this?  Why do we spend all of our time here on this Earth doing things that we don’t want to do, just so that we can spend a few hours in our apartment/home or eat at a nice restaurant?  And in thinking those thoughts, you realize that there is no point.  That you might as well be dead.

Depression is remembering that you used to love going to the park on the weekend.  That you used to love to paint.  But now, you see nothing on a happy, sunny day.  The canvas is blank, and no images form in your mind.  Your brain is an empty space of nothingness that wants to do nothing.

Depression is being a famous actor, known for bringing comedy gold into our households.  Making everyone smile, but having no one really know your secret demons.  Depression is facing addiction, and struggling to escape its gnarled grasp.

Depression is feeling unloved, or unwanted by your family.  Depression is feeling like a failure over and over again.  Depression is watching a car drive by yours on your commute home from work, and internally wishing that they might crash into you.

Depression is hoping that you don’t wake up tomorrow morning, and when you do, barely having the strength to pull yourself out of bed.

Depression is painful, not only mentally but physically.  Your entire body aches, and you are overcome with fatigue.

I’ve suffered from depression my entire life since I was a teen.  For some of us, it’s ingrained in our genes.  For others, its brought on by an event that just won’t let us be.

Depression makes other people feel uncomfortable.  People like to pretend that depression is something that you can overpower if you have the determination.  That if you pretend that it isn’t there, then it will just go away.  Or that if you’ll just “try” and be happy, then you eventually will be.

Depression is a series of physical/psychological problems within a persons body.

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Some choose to treat their depression with medication.  Some choose therapy.  Some need that medication in order to even handle therapy.

I am of the personal belief that medication only masks the symptoms, and that in order to help you cope with (notice I didn’t say overcome) your depression, you need to take part in therapy as well.  I feel like therapy is really the only way to get to the root of the problems that you’re dealing with.  A therapist will tell you how to manage your symptoms, and how to recognize them when they appear.  They will give you the tools to help you pull yourself from that deep hole, and find a way to eventually be happy.

Anytime someone knocks therapy, saying something along these lines, I want to smack them upside the head for their ignorance:

“I don’t need anyone to pscyho-analyze me!”

“I am NOT going to see a shrink!”

“I just need to be left alone.  I don’t need any help!”

Sorry folks, but depression is something you just CAN’T do alone.  The only reason I am alive today is because of my therapist and my network of people who care about me.  I can say with honesty that had I not had friends and family push me into therapy during college, I would be dead.

That might sound dramatic, but it is the honest truth and I am not ashamed to admit it.  I am smart enough to know now that I have a disease, and that I will deal with it my entire life.  I can be happy today because I went to therapy, and learned the tools I desperately needed to survive.  I know how to handle my symptoms without the use of medication because I know what is causing them now.  I know now what brings on my depression, and I also have close family and friends who refuse to let me wallow.  But sometimes, even with family and friends it doesn’t help.

Don’t be so quick to judge those who choose the suicide route.  Yes, you have every right to be furious with them.  Yes, you have every right to be sad.

But you weren’t living their life.  You didn’t know the thoughts they were thinking.  You didn’t have to deal with their personal struggles every day.  Don’t call them cowards.  It is their life.  They are the only ones who have to live that life.  Not you.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone suicide.  I am just not so quick to judge having been through depression myself.

I like to say that everyone has a different breaking point.  Some people crumble at the smallest things, and others take enormous loads of stress before they finally crack.  Everyone is different.  What might seem like the end of the world to you, might be a “been there, done that” situation for someone else.  Over time, your breaking point with grow with experience.

When you are in that place, everything around you is like a creeping black void of nothing.  It is like you’re on the edge of a cliff, and a dark monster is grabbing you by the heels, dragging you down.  It would be much easier to just let go and free fall straight into the bottom.

If you’re reading this, and don’t understand it, then try to realize now that you cannot fathom what depression feels like.  And thus, have no place to judge those that do.  Make a conscious effort to be kind and compassionate for the suffering of others.  BE that person who will try and make a difference in a persons life who you know is suffering.

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, I ask you to do the following things.

1.  Talk to them.  Let them know that you are there to listen if they need you.

2.  Offer to help them get help.

3.  Actually listen if they offer up their feelings.

4.  Be attentive, and take any threats they make against themselves seriously.  Even if it sounds like they are joking.

5.  If your friend is threatening suicide, call the police to intervene.  Or talk to their family to have an intervention before anything drastic happens.

6.  NEVER try to play down their feelings, act like they’re crazy, or that they can just get through this on their own.

Keep in mind that those who are depressed enough to hurt themselves will not likely tell you.  Those that cut themselves or do things that seem to beg for attention are crying out for your help.  Take this just as seriously.

Depression isn’t a disease that just “goes away”, but you can help someone suffering know that they’re not alone.

Will you be that person?  Or will you choose to be the jerk that judges those that are truly suffering.  If you suffer from depression, I seriously hope you aren’t judgmental.  Just because you survived, doesn’t mean that everyone is as strong as you.

Depression isn’t weakness.  Eventually people will realize that.

Robin Williams, rest in peace.  I’m going to miss the laughs.

Gift_Aladdin

 

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