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blighted ovum miscarriage ultrasound images

The first baby I lost, I was very young.

The second, I wasn’t ready.

By the third, I was frantic.  I was ready.  I was prepared.  I was ecstatic that he or she and my newborn godson would grow up together.  I am constantly told Baby #3 doesn’t count.  I had a blighted ovum, and to this day I still get funny looks when I mention it, because there’s technically no baby in the sac.  Technically.  In reality, that baby existed to me, and the loss was just as hard.  Just as real as any fertilized egg.

That was 10 years and 2 more known miscarriages ago, and it seemed like another life.  I still had time.  I still had options.  I still had hope.  I still believed in my rainbow baby, the child that comes after the storm of loss.

My godson turned 10 today, just days before the anniversary of the D&C that would remove the blighted ovum.  He’s such an amazing little man, and I am proud to have him in my life.  To think of myself with a 13 year old, a 12 year old, a 10 year old, a 9 year old, or an 8 year old is unreal to me as I begin to accept that the choices I’ve made to keep my family afloat mean I’m not even home enough to take care of a child, and my household support system is not equipped or willing to do so.  My rainbow baby is fading.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, with the 15th being a day of remembrance, but there is not a day I am not aware, not a day I don’t remember those babies and the one I’ve given up.  My rainbow baby is in the eyes of every new baby that graces our family, every tiny hand I hold, every small laugh that catches my attention in public.

This month, as I honour all of the babies I’ve lost, I dream of the little men or women who would be in my life now, and they are with me.

Aloha

Go now, hug your children

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Child 1

“At my age,” the 9-year-old said to me in all seriousness, “I just feel like The Jungle Book is a little silly and childish.”   Ten minutes prior to this statement I had heard him complaining to a girl his age that his mother hadn’t paid his cell phone bill, speaking as if he was always having to check up on her.  The little girl was just as serious as she told him it wasn’t his parents’ job to pay for everything, explaining how much she had saved to get her hair done.  I felt for a moment like I was watching children parody their parents like some kind of juvenile Vaudeville act, but they weren’t, and as that boy looked at me like I was being ridiculous to even suggest cartoons to a person his age I was immediately saddened by what’s happening to the current generation of children.

When I look at children I see two things that stand out.  The first is an amazing culture of unschooling, home schooling, alternative teaching, and children encouraged to do what children do naturally.  They are encouraged to play, to touch, to create, and to use their imaginations.  These are the thinkers and the inventors of tomorrow.  These children will be what pulls us out of the mire someday, because I believe the only thing that will save us as a society is something new, something “outside the box”.  These children, as adults, will be less concerned about the “shoulds” that repeatedly dig our society deeper into the hole.  Instead they will focus on the “cans”, because these children have not been told what their lives “should” look like, only what they “can” if they dare to go after dreams and find ways to make those dreams realities.  These children will be adults who have been given the resources to make their own decisions and the tools to process their emotions.  They are learning to communicate and grow from their mistakes.

The second thing I see scares me a little bit.  I see children with cell phones and tablets who don’t know how to jump rope.  I see children who already believe that “make-believe” is something to eschew for more mature pursuits.  I see children who will someday know the formulas and the codes but never anything else.  I see libraries full of stereo instructions but no fairy tales.  I see children who will never be taught to have a frivolous outlet growing into adults who have no way to release stress or frustration in a healthy manner.  I see decades of the same mistakes being repeated because no one can think of another way of doing things.  These children will be brilliant, able to memorize the patterns and the steps, but they will be stunted when it comes to problem solving and fresh ideas.  They may be self sufficient at a younger age, but they will be emotionally under-developed or possibly emotionally blocked altogether because of the belief that emotions and passion are childish.  They will be able to analyse anything, but feel nothing.  They will not be able to handle change, failure, people who don’t think or act the way they do.  They will have excellent decision making skills and consequence comprehension, but they will not actually be able to think original thoughts.  What we are witnessing is the destruction of imagination on an extremely large scale.

What remains to be seen is whether or not there is enough balance to keep the world spinning once these children are all grown up.  Will there be a place in it for everyone, and will there be enough of a grey area to not have the two extremes constantly at a stalemate?

Hubby and I have had countless discussions about this. While I agree that our children need to learn how to cope with hardship I believe that it’s just as important for them to learn to let loose a little and not take themselves too seriously.  Parents?  Teachers?  What are your thoughts?

English: The logo for our local polyamory grou...

 

The internet is abuzz with California’s new proposed bill that would allow children to have more than two legal parents.  Proponent, State Senator Mark Leno, cites a case where a young girl with two legal mothers was taken into State care when both of her mothers were unable to care for her, despite the involvement of the girl’s biological father and his wishes to care for her.  Opponents have argued that a multiple parent family would confuse the child and make “radical families” legal, that nothing has shown a benefit to children in such families, and according to Focus on the Family’s Glenn T Stanton “a job best done for children by their own mother and father”.

Setting aside my own poly and queer friendly agendas, I believe that this bill will be beneficial for children in all kinds of situations, including the one of the girl stated above, and several states have recognized this already, including the one in which I currently reside.   Step-parents have little to no rights when it comes to the children that often-times live in their homes and bond with them as they do with parents.  Right now my step-son could just as easily end up in State care as he could with me should something happen to both his mother and Hubby.  There would be channels I could take to change that with these laws in place, but in some states there is no option.

Now, let’s take that a step further to gay parenting.  Children of gay parents are not always adopted or conceived anonymously.  Sometimes the donor is a friend or someone the couple knows.  In this case it isn’t uncommon for the child to know his biological mother or father and have some kind of bond with him or her.  If the child’s legal parents want to add a legal aspect to that situation shouldn’t they have that right?

Finally, let’s look at a poly household.  While we can’t all be legally married, there are responsibilities that come with raising children as a whole.  If I give birth to a child and Hubby’s partner stays home to nurture and take care of that child there is no reason I wouldn’t trust that person with my child should something happen to us, nor should she be restricted from doing so in any situation, since I’m tired of this being an in-case-we-meet-our-unfortunate-demise case scenario.  Schools, doctors, camps should all recognize this person as a co-parent to my child, no questions asked.

The next thing I will address is the constant sate of confusion our children must be living in and the credit none of them is ever given to understand and accept whatever reality we present to them.  This so-called “confusion” is a product of bias and learned ideas, not instinct.  A child does not  instinctual identify a heterosexual man and woman with matching DNA to his as his parents.  He will accept what he learns, and as long as that is a loving, nurturing environment I could not care less what it looks like.  My stepson has never questioned my role in his life.  My girlfriend’s son never asked us what was happening or why.  He accepted it and went back to his trains.  Kids have an amazing ability to be open-minded and accepting of anything that comes their way, and whether or not this bill is approved does not change that.

As far as the psyche of our children, is “there’s no proof these children are any better off” really the best you can do?  Is there evidence that all children of multiple parent households turn out to be criminals and sociopaths?  No, just as there aren’t any that prove that children who carry lunch boxes instead of brown bags grow up to be peeping toms and rapists.  It’s ludicrous. If my children are no better off than any one else’s children, is that really a problem? No, because no mater what the family structure looks like any child can have a fantastic upbringing.  I don’t pretend ours is a  better way; it’s just a way.

I will say that our kids tend to accept change and unconventional ideas a little more readily than some from traditional families.  Nothing phases the 5-year-old.  He has just learned to adapt and carry on.  He’s also 5, and this is typical of most 5 year olds, but he’s the best example I have, and as long as he’s happy and healthy I’m happy.

I can support this bill and those like it, and as long as the focus stays on our children and not religious or political agendas I will continue to do so for anything that helps.  I can understand the system-wide changes this will cause for our welfare, child support, custody, and foster care programs, as well as how we treat single parent families and those with step-parents.  Honestly, I think it all needed to be revamped a long time ago.

I don’t need the law to tell me any of our children can call me Mom.  I need the law to tell me that the professionals and politicians looking out for us do for them so that I can continue to do what I do every day, love them and give them the best care possible.

Today I had a fantastic Valentine’s Day adventure with my boyfriend, Matt.  It started with a scavenger hunt through the Philadelphia Museum of Art and focused on nudes.  When we got there we were given a sheet of clues and an answer sheet and sent on our way, slipping in and out of galleries like Indiana Jones on a quest!  We had two hours to answer 30 witty questions, and the timing was pretty much perfect.  At the end of those two hours we reconvened, our answers were scored, and the winners were announced.  We got 25 correct answers!  Not bad for our first hunt, eh?

My overall impression was fantastic!  The questions were challenging, but most of them were clear and not impossible to answer.  We learned a lot of new facts about artwork we’ve seen dozens of times, noticed a few we hadn’t before, and really took the time to look at the details of the museum itself.  A few of the directions were a little vague, but we only got lost once.  Most of the time the prompts were easy to follow and the description of what we were using to verify the correct location were spot on and quite amusing.  The hunt was an excellent workout, but also very well laid out, so we weren’t too exhausted to finish, nor did we waste time traversing the building.

Upon review of their website, I am highly impressed with Watson Adventures.  Teaming up in groups of two to six makes it an excellent date or poly family outing, and while the nude hunt was adult only they have several designed for kids and families.  They have hunts at the zoo, historic locations, and other museums as well, so your family can pick one that suits your interests.  While the point of the hunts are to answer questions, they also give you the Reader’s Digest tour of the venue and provide a little education at the same time, and the two-hour duration was perfect for my weak bladder, and would be just enough time for a child’s attention span or an afternoon date.  The organizers make it fun and exciting, and it really does serve as a team building and mind flexing exercise. They also do a great job of having everyone start on a question that puts that team in a location different from any other team to avoid a mob taking over the venue.

A few quick facts about Watson Adventures, found on their website (here).

  • They have existed since 1999, and I don’t know why or how I haven’t known about them until now!
  • They are in eight cities all across the nation, including my favourites, Chicago and San Francisco.
  • They will do private hunts, including birthday parties, corporate events, bachelorette hunts (again, why did I NOT know this?), and more.

Whether it was the hunt, love, or the simple fact that we’re both pretty serious geeks, Matt and I had a blast and are planning to do more of these scavenger hunts.  If the rest of the family can behave, we might take them with us.

Go now, find some clues!

Aloha!

Today is the first day since we started our visitation agreement that we’ve had to cancel on the little guy.  Hubby’s sick, and the little guy tends to pick up sick like pocket change.  It’s also the first time I’ve seen him fight and cry because he didn’t want to leave.  It’s the first time Hubby has seen him fight and cry because he wanted his daddy.  It was heartbreaking, but it was a decision that had to be made.  It took me a while to convince him that his son will not hate him for making him go home, and I can tell it bothers him still.  We’ve fought really hard for what time we do have, and deep inside it’s still not enough for Hubby, but it’s a start.

We knew there would be struggles when we started this visitation pattern.  We figured the little guy would cry for his mom and his toys, and he did.  We figured it would take some time to adjust to a new house with new rules and an entirely new environment, and it did.  Some of that anxiety still hasn’t worn off, and it will take a lot more work to make this routine, but we’re taking it one weekend at a time.

We don’t have the little guy overnight yet, and maybe that’s part of the problem.  As soon as he starts getting comfortable and relaxed it’s time to leave.  I’m hoping that as this arrangement evolves I can do as well as my father did rolling with the punches.

Today reminded me of when I was seven or eight.  I was too sick to leave home for Christmas, and I was devastated.  I was a little more equipped to understand that the little guy is at four, but I was still highly upset.  My dad came over and brought my presents, and we had dinner together, but there was one thing he hadn’t brought.  That was the year my dad had bought me my own bed.  After years of sleeping on a fold out futon, I finally had my own bed at his house.  He had picked it out just for me and set it up for me to find on Christmas.  Of course, I didn’t know that.  I was just upset that there was this special present my dad had failed to bring with him.  I moped for days until I was finally able to go see it, and I finally understood why that particular present hadn’t made the trip on Christmas Day.  I felt a little foolish for having been upset, but I was seven.  I wasn’t going to admit it.

I wasn’t much older than the little guy is now when I started visiting my dad and his parents.  It was a huge adjustment being away from my home, my room, and my mom.  I’d pack as many toys and dolls as I could and lug them to my dad’s house for the weekend and try my best to set up my room there to my liking.  I know for a fact I was difficult at times, and as I grew it got more routine, but there were always new challenges.  There were always weekends I wanted to spend with my friends or rules I wanted to bend.

When my mom passed away I felt that same uprooted feeling as I lost the home I knew for good.  It was an extremely rough transition for both of us.  I had to learn a new life and a new way of doing things, and my dad acquired a teenager full-time.  We had clashes because there were parts of each other we didn’t know very well.  We also had a lot of good memories, and it got me through some of the roughest years of my life.  One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was leave my father and move to Philadelphia.  I know he hated the idea, but he never told me I couldn’t.  He never told me I shouldn’t.  He let me live my life, just as he always has.

I know it bothered my dad at times, but he never showed it to me.  He never gave up on me, and I never felt like he wanted to see me any less.  He was always there on the other side when I stepped out of a bad attitude  as a teenager or off of a plane as an adult and back into a daughter he recognized.  He’s always supported me in all my decisions and lifestyle choices whether or not he agrees or understands, and he’s always the first one to remind me I can always come home.

When I look at how upset Hubby gets when he can’t see the little guy or when he feels he’s letting him down, I see how much he wants to be a good father.  Part of that means knowing how to make the hard decisions and sacrifices.  I know he wanted to see the little guy today just as much as the little guy wanted to see him.  I know how much it hurt to see his son cry and not be able to hold him to make it all better.  Today I saw my husband be a father. He told me later he wants his son to see him as strong.  To me, he was.  To the little guy, he always will be.   More fathers should be this way, no matter what the situation.  I’m really glad mine was.

I love you , Dad.

Go now, love your father, whoever that may be for you.

Aloha

So, yes, I’m a couple of weeks late.  Bear with me, my schedule lately has been brutal with no internet access if I’m not home.

At Beltaine we celebrate the sacred union of the Maiden and the Youth and the beginning of a time of creativity and vibrancy.  Even with symbols like the maypole this can sometimes be an abstract concept for children or the uninitiated to grasp.  When I started this blog  my aim was not to educate about Wiccan traditions or practices but to share m experiences and offer some practical advice as a parent and neighbour who doesn’t even own a broom closet.  Wiccan parenting doesn’t have to be  ostentatious, and celebrating in our own backyard doesn’t have to be strange and alienating.  This year we went a step further, as we had children and people present who are not part of a practicing household.  Instead of alienating ourselves and our guests, we made our Beltaine celebration a more ecumenical event.

We lit a modest fire in our metal fire pit, and Hubby and I blessed it with a jovial incantation and a custom blended incense.  A few people were already present, and they merrily sang with us.  The rest added a stick to the fire as they entered in order to contribute their energy to the celebration.  We sang simple chants everyone could learn and remember and danced around the fire until we were exhausted.  I even taught the children to poi with practice, non-fire-bearing poi balls.  All this allowed the children to start building a foundation of knowledge and understanding of Beltaine and raising energy in a fun and lighthearted way and kept up the energy for the night.  At one point the new neighbour came over with his beer and sat with us, watching the dancing and listening to the singing.  He and other people around the fire chatted as one of our newest little sisters practiced her tarot skills.

This experience was the embodiment of our aim for our household.  Yes, we’re poly.  Yes, we’re Wiccan.  Yes, we’re organic and “green”.  None of that means we have to be apologetic or undercover.  None of that means we have to keep our lifestyle hidden from our children until they’re “old enough to understand”.  Our secondaries will not be Aunt So-and-So or Uncle Whojamcallit.  We live in a world where having same-sex parents is not uncommon, but generally more accepted and open than pagan or poly ones.  Sometimes this is dependent on the climate of tolerance where we live.  Other times it’s self-imposed because we feel it’s something taboo or too difficult or “adult” for children to understand.  This is a cop-opt.  If we can teach Catholic children about a mad being crucified, we can teach them about the sacred union just as innocuously.  There is a way to be honest with our children and our communities without being over the top and obnoxious, and it’s happening more and more every day.  Food for though, my two cents, and all that.

Go now, share your joy!

Namaste.

“Are you cross, Jenn?”  my 4-year old godson, Nicholas, asked me the other morning.  We sat in front of the TV watching Thomas the Tank Engine puff along saving the day and learning to ask for help.  I have no idea whether the child is actually learning the moral values imparted by the show, but he sure is amassing an interesting vocabulary set.  He has also picked up the phrases, “that’s so adorable”, “so, what are we going to do about this?”, and “focus, mom.  focus”.  The kid really is a sponge, as most kids are at this age, but it was the use of the word “cross” that made me think about the words picked up from our cartoon friends.  What phrases were yours as a kid?

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