Monday, August 8, 2011 By: Mera Thomas

Because everyone needs a Lullaby....

This story was inspired by Adele Enerson the writer of Mila's Daydreams. She wrote and sang a song just for Mila her daughter and I loved and still Love it, in the wake of a negative pregnancy test and the hope I still have to conceive I am going to re-post this here for all the children who are loved and bring Magic to the lives of their parents.




The Lullaby

The child was magic. Everywhere she went flowers bloomed, dreams became reality, and when she sang creatures danced. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her as she looked to be the ordinary child, red of hair, fair of face, delightful, but contrary disposition, a child not rare in the world but utterly magical.

Alim was her name she was bright, strong, loving and old of soul. She loved to sing, but in her singing was when her magic gained flight.

One day while Alim was playing in the forest, out of sight of her house, she started to sing a lullaby that had no words. As she sang she started to twirl and all around Alim the woods came to life. The sun was high in the sky giving the woods a golden glow and a mist started to form at the base of the trees gilded with the sunlight and alive with the purple aura of magic. Alim was unawares of the happenings around her for she had closed her eyes to the song and sang from her heart.

In the clearing of the woods where Alim had wondered the sun framed her burnished curls as she twirled in her white dress around and around eyes closed, hands spread all the while humming her lullaby. What a delight she was to behold.

Alim’s mother noticing that she was out of sight of the house went in search of Alim and while walking through the wood found that all was silent but for a gentle dreamy hum of a lullaby. “Alim?” she said softly and followed the sound.

As she walked she also noticed that the creatures of the wood were no where to be seen. There wasn’t a squirrel in the trees or a rabbit underfoot. Not even a bird singing loftily above her head. She stopped and looked around, curious, dumfounded, and still hearing the strange lullaby hummed softly by her child.

She continued to walk; this mother of magic, when she came upon Alim in the clearing and her haunting lullaby, what she saw made her catch her breath soundlessly in wonder.

Alim was twirling and humming a song that flowed from her heart and out of her throat. It had no words that she knew of just sound and feeling. She didn’t know when it would end, or if it would never stop. She hummed and then she opened her mouth and she sang and it was beautiful.

Alim never opened her eyes as she sang and twirled but all around her the animals of the wood were dancing in the mist. The purple gilt of the mist had given the creatures and Alim a wondrous sense of mystery and fantasy. It was a child’s dream come to life. Bears in tiara are waltzing with rabbits in tailcoats, fawns in gowns gliding around the clearing like ballerinas, and squirrels in top hats providing musical accompaniment to Alim’s song.

Alim’s mother was in awe of what she saw in the clearing with Alim at its center. It was as if someone dreamed.

Alas as all dreams do, though, it came to an end, and as the last cords of Alim’s song came to a close she twirled one last time and sang softly as she opened her eyes to behold her living daydream of an Animal Ball.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Thinking About What You Say (Or Write) By Melissa

I am going to tell a story, it doesn't matter if it is fact or fiction. What matters is the story it tells. I hope people listen and think. Think about what you say, and what you write before you say it to children.

Shannon was nine when her step father went into AA. Or was it NA? She wasn't really sure. She knew it was supposed to help him get better and it didn't really work. He was still angry. Her world was still torn apart. The home still felt ugly.

Part of AA (we will go with AA since we don't know which it was, but we do know he was addicted to both drugs and alcohol as evidenced by the track marks on his arms, and elsewhere) was he had to keep a notebook. Children are curious, and too stupid to know that sometimes what is inside of notebooks, even carefully hidden ones, can destroy their emotions. That is what happened to Shannon when she read her step fathers notebook.

Even though her father was not exactly kind to her most of the time, she clung to the times when he was. Children are awfully forgiving creatures. They have to be in order to survive the land of playground politics. In Shannon's mind her step father was just angry sometimes, like Robert at school who sometimes pulled her hair or called her stupid. And... maybe she just was stupid. She just made herself not feel it when they said those things. She only let herself believe the hugs, and when he said "I love you."

But she found his notebook and read, being the curious child that she was. She knew she shouldn't. She knew he would be angry. She knew he would probably spank her, or worse call her awful things. He'd once taken books from her because he didn't want her to get ideas from the content in them, saying they were too "adult" in content. Reflecting as an adult, it's interesting to her that the book was Mommy Dearest.

There were things about God, and forgiveness. Asking for it, so on and so forth. Lots of things that a young girl didn't really understand, but there was one page that will be forever burned in her memory. It was the day she read in his notebook that her step father hated her. It was on a page of things he wanted to "confess". Not that he had done awful things to her, or her mother or to countless other people. It was that he hated HER, that he wished SHE wasn't alive. That he wished there was only one child in the household. That he couldn't stand to look at her. And on and on, in a paragraph forever etched in her brain.

Forever etched in her brain.

Today I ask you to think about all of the Shannon's in the world.  There are thousands of them being told by the people they love that they wish they had never been born. They are being made to feel like they aren't worthy. They don't feel they should be alive. They feel like mistakes, unloved and unwanted.

Hug your children. Please tell them that they are awesome. Tell them that you are glad they are alive.

THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SAY AND WRITE.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Sharing Some Writing (by Melissa)

These are just random excerpts or writing I have done. All of it very short and none of it submission to a magazine worthy. But, it was fun to write nonetheless! Feel free to share yours, or links to your own websites of collections of writing as well. I love to promote other authors and my co-writer Emerald Hall is also a wonderful writer so I hope she submits some of hers as well (hint hint Emerald).



One:

I slink around the bend of the chair and hope, just hope she will reach down and touch me. I watch as she lights her cigarette and then looks in my direction. "Oh you scared me!" she says as she reaches down to stroke my head.
Today has been a good day. The sun was bright so I basked in the yard on the warm grass. As I stretched I purred and felt the hard grass between my toes. Who knows how long I slept in that sun, but I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.
The rest of the day I hid from the kids. But even that was fun! When the youngest came near me I would bat at her (not to hurt, just to scare) and then inwardly feel pleased when she cried to her mother. "Bad kitty!" doesn't mean much to me. That's just what she says when I have been having a little fun at the tiny humans expense.
And yet as I watch her put that cigarette into her mouth I inwardly plead to her to pet me. I slink between her legs and purr. But she is still mad, and now I feel aggravated that she won't scratch an itch that I just can't seem to reach.
So as she sits in the lawn chair I bump her three different times with my head. Still nothing. The lady is making weird sounds, kid of like a kitten mewing and this aggravates me. I want her to rub me damnit!!!!
So I reach up and swat her with my paw, only allowing one claw to actually catch on her. She yelps, laughs and then says something like "Well at least you need me." as she reaches down to pet me. Her face is wet, I notice, as she leans in and rubs from my head to my tail.
People are odd.

Two:
Oh yes, do you ever wonder what it is like to feel as though you were going mad? Well I will tell you. Sometimes it is seeing yourself in the mirror but thinking it is someone else. Other times it is sitting at your desk and feeling like the walls are closing in on you. You can't breathe. You can't think. But you think too much.

I am so tired of this. Tonight I don't know if I could have kept up my mask of normalcy around other people. It is what it is but I try to hide it.

I don't think I could have for that 20 or so minutes that I thought I would lose it. I wanted to ball up in a corner. Not to cry, I have no tears anymore. I am numb except to feel fear and adoration of my children.

I thought about my best friend. She is more like a sister, in fact she is exactly like a sister to me. I thought about when we get older. Will I be able to take care of her? Will she look out for me? I can't imagine growing old without her. It sounds like I am in love with her, but she is a soulmate not a lover type for me. This is the one person who I feel most myself around. She understands and we don't judge each other no matter what.

So my ascent from darkness was thinking of us as little old ladies. And not regular old ladies. We will be the ones in the nursing home talking about the hot young orderlies.

While that is all fine and dandy I still hate the paranoia that overcomes me sometimes. The detachment. All of it.

I think about going back to work, but what would happen if I freaked out like that at work? I have been severely paranoid at work on more than one occasion. I have thought someone was looking at me too hard, thought they were talking trash about me. I secluded myself and made very little contact with my co workers. I read books during lunch so I wouldn't be bothered. But I don't think could have handled it if I had been at work tonight.

Wondering if I didn't overdo it today. I went out to lunch with my best friend. We talked and it was okay. Then I went and did a layaway for the kids Christmas presents. Still was okay, somewhat better than the last time I went out Christmas shopping last week. But tonight, holy hell I felt like I was going to fucking lose it. Oh, I went to the grocery store tonight too.

I had an image of me driving off of the bridge on the way to the grocery store. I do not WANT these thoughts. But I laughed to myself, for some reason I found it humorous. I hate when those thoughts pop up. They scare me, and yet they occupy my mind.

I try to occupy my mind at all times. If I do this then the scary thoughts are less frequent. They still happen but at a much slower pace. That is something that I can deal with. It isn't fun but it isn't... I don't know how to describe it.

Took 4 benadryl tonight to help me sleep. It somewhat worked last night. I still woke up SEVERAL times but there was improvement.

I am going to be really low key tomorrow. I think I need it.


Three:
(from my book Ancients which I have copyrighted all content, though it remains unfinished at this point)
Third Chapter:

Jake looked at the beautiful redhead sitting on the rock. The sun sparkled off the multifacets of red and blond and her eyes twinkled in the light. As always his breath was taken, thinking she looked more like an Egyptian goddess than a human being. “Come on Keltie, it is safe. Are you going to chicken out again?” he asked over his shoulder.
The harness was on tight. Almost too tight. Keltie looked over the falls and saw the rushing, cold water beneath her. She was scared all right. This was a very long way down, and how strong was the harness REALLY? “Jake, I don’t know about this.” She said, eyes scared and wide. Inside she thought “A bungee jump? Really? Does he want to die?” as she paced back and forth.
Jake became impatient. “You said you would do this. Come on, it is totally safe. Look, I have done this a hundred times at least. You fall and then the cord stops you. Completely safe.” He motioned to the cord attached to the harness.
Keltie was not scared for herself. She was an ancient, she would never die. The thought of being a survivor made her terrified. She had been in that place before. Watching as someone elses life ebbed away, knowing she would not join them and knowing she couldn’t do anything about it. “No Jake! Don’t!” she screamed as he smiled and jumped off the side. Without another thought she jumped as well, following Jake in fear for his life.
“MOM NO!” she heard the screaming whisper in her head as she felt the cool rush of air. Kelties eyes streamed with tears and her breath was gone. Closer, closer the ground came and all she could think of was protecting Jake. In the chaos of wind and motion she focused on his bungee cord with all the power she had. No sound came from her as she murmured the ancients prayer for safety. Her heart beat and she never felt the bounce of her own cord, the jarring semsation of going up and then back down and up again. All Keltie could do was concentrate on that damn cord, with tears streaming down and up her cheeks.



A flashback of Wyn’s  lifeless body flashed before Keltie’s eyes as she passed out. In her blackness she felt the cold hand of the 16 year old girl. She had only wanted to marry. Why did they kill her? Keltie could feel the soft cotton of the dress, the silkiness of the veil. The smell of her daughters blood. 


Keltie awoke crying, laying on the grass next to the top of the falls. Before she could think about it she said “She never called me mom.” and started bawling like an infant. Jake looked confused and distraught as the beautiful woman in front of him gulped air and cried. Even after five years there were things that Keltie kept locked away from him, but who never called her mom? Deciding to ignore the comment he scooped Keltie into his lap and cradled her much like a father would do with an inconsolable child.
Keltie felt Jake murmuring to her that everything would be okay, but she didn’t hear the words. She heard the screams of her fellow clan and the sound of metal piercing flesh. This lasted less than a minute, but it felt like a lifetime. Once she felt composed again she wiped away the tears and turned to Jake, glaring.
Oh no, what must he think? I just passed out and mentioned Wyn.
“Are you fucking crazy Jake? I told you not to do this! I thought you would chicken out! You!” she yelled while slapping his chest in fury. Jake stood up abruptly and Keltie spilled from his lap in the process. “Why would I chicken out? This was MY idea. I invited you because you didn’t want me to be alone! In fact, you seemed excited!” he bellowed, angry and confused.
That was until Margo saw your death.
“Yes, I was. But no wait, I wasn’t. I don’t know how to explain this. I just feel scared, scared of losing you. Scared of losing the one person who loves me for me. And he wants to throw himself off a cliff and dangle by a mother fucking string?” Keltie yelled, holding her arms wide out in disbelief.
“I can’t handle this Keltie. I love you, but this is who I am. I like to bungee. I like white water rafting. I like riding horses. All these things that scare you and you cry every time. But this is the damn icing, passing out and then beating on me for doing something you KNEW I was going to do? It’s insane babe, completely insane.” Jake said in a loud voice, pacing back and forth angrily.
Keltie felt as though icy cold water hit her entire body. Insane? She composed herself as best she could. Wiping away the tears and running her hands through her hair, she slowly rose facing away from Jake. “Jake, I am going to call you later or something.” She said as if in a fog, digging the keys to the jeep out of her pocket. “I’m sorry Keltie. You aren’t crazy. Look, I didn’t mean that.” Jake said, trying to put an arm around her waist and draw her to him. Keltie stepped away and put a hand up, wanting him to not touch her at the moment. Jake looked confused, and angry all at once. Without another word Keltie turned around and walked to her Jeep.

That's all for now folks, but I look forward to reading others submissions! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011 By: Mera Thomas

Holistic....The New 4 Letter Word? By Emerald S. Hall




Hello and welcome readers! Long time no read, eh? Sorry for the one post and run that happened last time. I've been dealing with some illness, fatigue and personal issues, but TODAY I feel the need to WRITE!

It's like a super power when you feel the NEED TO WRITE well... you then must write, lol.

Today I would like to discuss the word Holistic and its connotations. Recently (as recently as 2months ago) a friend of mine and I started going to a Holistic Mom's meeting. At first we thought "Oh My God" a place were we're not going to be looked at strangely and have like minded conversation, YIPPEEEEE

Here's the Holistic Mom's Southern Oklahoma's chapter Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hmnsok

National Website: http://www.holisticmoms.org/?gclid=COWV2pfozKkCFRHGKgodkiaXNg

Then we got to the first meeting and it w

ent well aside from having to defend our home state, which is Oklahoma, since the other member (yes there are only 3members and the host) and the host are both originally from California. To them

Oklahoma isn't a very good state for going Green, even though we're country and backwoods and use homemade solutions for damn near everything, or eating Organically, even though you can't travel through a town without seeing umpteen farmers stands or a local butchering store where you can just walk in your cow/pig/deer/ho

g to be butchered and taken home to Mama for cooking, or doing much of anything really but the host wanted to start a Holistic Mom's Network chapter for Southern OK for like minded moms such as she.

First meeting went surprisingly well, even if there was some OK bashing going on. Me and my friend defended our state and even gave them options for buying fresh and organic vegetables aside from shopping the local Walmart. We left that meeting full of optimism and goodies, hopes for meetings to come.

Our second meeting didn't go quite as well

as the first, lol. First let me say that for me and my friend to get to the meeting we have to travel 2.5hours away from our homes to do so until we get more members that live in our area it’s a bit of a travel.

Our second meeting was supposed to be over Green Cleaning and we were supposed to make our own cleaners with vinegar and water and a little essential oil for fragrance and antibacterial purposes. (Lavender is a good antibacterial and calming too) We were all supposed to bring spray bottles a

nd the host would bring some supplies for u

s to use. Well that got scrapped because our meeting place got moved from the Library's annex building to the library proper in one of the meeting halls and the host was told that we couldn't have liquids in the library. Well we get there and she was told by the head librarian that the hall we were using had a kitchen and yes we could have brought our liquids if we wanted.

Well bummer to late now we were already gathered and ready for a meeting of minds. I sat my 4 year old dd down with a few books (from the library) and told her that she needed to be quiet because we were inside a library and libraries

we're places where everyone used their quiet voices.

My friend had her 1 year old with her and set her up with a snack and her learn to walk toy along with some other quiet toys.

The other member had her 2 girls with her who were around the ages of 5 -7. The girls while cute and very polite proceeded to run circles around their mother and shriek inside the library. Where was their mother you ask? Well she was right there. She never said a word about her girls running around the library playing tag/chase me or what have you. The only time she bothered to reprimand her children was to tell the o

ldest to stop interrupting our conversation.

The whole meeting didn't last more than 30mins. The host gave us all some typed pages that had some ingredients on it for the green cleanser. We talked about ways that we already clean green, and that was pretty much it. Oh yeah plus the Oklahoma bashing.

One thing we did talk about was that the word HOLISTIC is pretty much a 4 letter word here in OK mostly because its associated with Chanting

hippies, lol. I didn't understand at first what they we're talking about because I had yet to encounter anything or anyone with bad connotations on the word Holistic.

The host and my friend started a discourse about the bad responses they've been getting on the word Holistic and me and my friend discussed it later only to not that it’s really the bad connotations associated with the word Holistic that people in our area are put off by. Why there's a bad connotation on the word Holistic, I have no clue. Probably all the drugs in the 60's and 70's, lol.

My friend told me about the responses she received on Facebook when she first posted about the Holistic Mom's meeting. She got a response that stated "yeah, I have a cold, why don't you put hot rocks on me and chant it away" or some such nonsense. The other responses she got mostly dealt with the fact that she's a Nurse so being Holistic is pretty irony for a "pill pusher", lol.

Her response to the naysayer’s was to po

int out that Green living or Living Old school was the cheapest and best option for her family. For example they cloth diaper their baby girl and by doing so save more than 2hundred dollars a month on diapers. They've recently started using cloth wipes as well and that saves them another 25-50 dollars a month.

You'd think it costs them more on the laundry front but really and truly it doesn't they do the diapers and wipes along with the baby's other laundry the only extra attention the diapers receive is that they're pre-rinsed with vinegar in a pre-wash cycle. I think their total water bill is around 60-70 dollars a month.

Not only that but in going to this Holistic

Mom's meeting I've realized that most of the things I do (that is how my Granny did them when I was little) is exactly what they're talking about.

The only time we go to the doctor is if there is a persistent fever I can't get rid of with Green Tea, Asprin, Motrin, Croup tent, and Eucalyptus steam.

My dd usually only goes to the doctor for her yearly checkup. I had my first antibiotic in more than 5 years a few months ago.

When I was little we never went to the doc

tor except for serious things like the Flu or broken bones or something.

For a cold my Granny would give me "Broom Weed" tea (which I’m telling you is some nasty stuff man N.A.S.T.Y.) but it did the trick. Scary looking stuff too. Because broom weed is a weed with yellow flowers with long stick like stems and you stick it in a pot and boil it then add honey and a teaspoon of spirits and drink, (ew ew ew ew ew blech, nasty*shudders*) but it did the trick usually a couple doses of that stuff and you we're cured.

Here's a website if you want to see it.

http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=AMDR

YUCK!

Not only that but when I was little we had a garden, and chickens and never had to go to the store for veggies or eggs or chicken. We went to the store for things like sugar, flour, beef, and pork (unless someone killed wild hog). We never bought fish or crawfish, as we had very nice ponds for fishing and crawdad fishing and my granny would send my brother and cousins fishing and send us girls crawdad fishing.

During the summer we'd pick black berries for pies and

jams, trade pies and jams, eggs and vegetables, with neighbors who had plum trees, or peach trees, or pear trees.

This is what they call living holistically, but this is what we call Living.

The only bad thing about an Oklahoman is that we don't like change very much, lol. We have the quintessential "If it aint broke don't fix it" attitude and same can be said for MOST of the rural states where progress is Years in the making.

It's not that Oklahoman's don't want to LIVE GREEN or LIVE HOLISTICALLY it's just that's not what we call it. We say "well that's how my Mama did it" or "My Granny raised all her kids like that and it worked for her" or "This is the way I was taught to do things" and we continue to do it that way.

Once taught it can't be untaught its just the way things are and when you live 30mins or more from the nearest town, grocery store, or store period, you tend to get along with your neighbors and do for yourself.

Because that's basically what Holistic living is its DOING for yourself and your family in the cheapest and less modern intrusive way possible. It’s doing the way grandma did it and passing down traditions.

If they would present it that way for Oklahoman's then we'd get more members as is my friend and I aren't sure how the next meeting is going to go or if we're going to stick around for many more meetings. The women are nice but as usual our Oklahoma tendencies come back to us and we're thinking "we already do most of what she's talking about, and anything else we can look up on the internet or ask a grandma, why are we driving more than 2 hours for a half hour meeting?"

Holistic isn't a 4 letter word though it does have 4 letter connotations, it's simply Living Traditionally.



Are there anyways that you all live traditionally? Have you thought about going Green? What things have you done or thought about doing to go Green? Is going Green or living Holistically or Living Traditionally anything you ever want to do or try?




Monday, May 23, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Breastfeeding in Public: Gawkers Beware (Melissa)

Beware the booby flasher. She can be found in many places so be vigilant! You might find her at the local mall sitting on the bench. Perhaps you will see her in a restaurant next time you go out to eat, eyes glinting as she swings her breasts at you. Be sure to look carefully because they are everywhere and they want you to look at their breasts. They hope you watch as they lift their shirt and slowly expose the nipple. Are you looking? Is it making you uncomfortable? Because they can only hope it is! That is, after all their goal. Watch carefully because they are fast when they flash you in public places, mind you. Before you know it the head of a small child will be covering the area, which is quite unfortunate because they really wanted you to keep looking. Why do these children need to eat and get in the way of mommy's exhibitionism?

Let me be clear, that paragraph is very tongue in cheek.


Parents have to decide many things as far as child rearing goes. One of the big ones is wether to breast feed or bottle feed. I am not about to make this blog posting a debate about which is best, I will publicly say that FEEDING your child is the best option. Do what works for you, that is my stance. No matter which one you choose though, you have to feed your baby at times when you are in public. You cannot stay chained to your house no matter what.


Many parents (and I say parents because both the mother and father make the decision together usually, although the mother is the one who does the actual feedings if EBF) exclusively breastfeed. This means they do not use bottles at all, for whatever reasons they choose not to. Sometimes a breastfeeding mother is caught in public with no bottle of expressed milk in a bottle handy, but her breasts are ready to go for a feeding. Often a woman just isn't able to pump much breastmilk at all no matter how hard she tries, so bottle feeding is never going to happen for her if she exclusively breastfeeds. With all of these things in mind, a baby will have to eat at times and some of those times will be in public.


http://www.drmomma.org/2010/05/united-states-breastfeeding-laws.html

So here is an idea for those people that don't like the idea of an infant eating when they are out in public. Don't look. It really is that easy. Just avert your eyes and decide to look at something else. It is rude to stare at anyone while they are eating and that includes an infant and their mother. Mind your manners and avert your eyeballs. The whole problem is solved when you use the neck and eye muscles you were born with to turn your head and look away. If you are offended it is because you choose to be, not because anyone is making you look.

But why can't the mother take the baby to a bathroom? Oh wait, do you want to eat your take out food while someone is pinching a loaf in the stall next to you? I mean the smell alone is something that could kill an appetite, am I right? And do people not realize how long it takes to breastfeed? Try fifteen minutes on each side, at least. So a woman should have to sit in a stall for 30-ish minutes feeding her baby? Those toilet seats are incredibly comfortable so why not. I sure hope in this scenario there is more than one stall because the line of people that actually need to use the bathroom for its intended purpose may not wish to wait for the 30 or so minutes it takes to feed the baby. I challenge everyone who has said a mother should take her baby to a bathroom stall to feed it to eat their meals in a bathroom stall when they go out to eat at least 20 times. That is the minimum amount of times a breastfeeding mother would have to take her infant into a bathroom stall for a feeding in the first year of life.


http://tinyurl.com/3mtlvxc


Next time anyone thinks about getting upset about a baby nursing in public I wish they would stop and think about this. Would it be upsetting if the baby was drinking a bottle? No? Then why is it upsetting because it is a breast. Breasts are not just sexual body parts. They are designed for this purpose. There is nothing shameful or gross about a baby getting milk from its mother. If it bothers a person then they need to realize it is their own personal issue and leave the breastfeeding mom and her baby alone. Keep your nasty looks and comments to yourself. Or maybe one day the mom will whip a nipple out of a baby's mouth and squirt you in the eyeball with milk! Okay, probably not. But the nasty looks sure do deserve it. Just look away and you won't get squirted!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Why the Man Hate? ( By Melissa)


This is something that didn't bother me until I had a son. In fact, I probably engaged in it more times than I care to admit. After I had my son I had to see the world through the eyes of what it would be like to me a male in today's society and what I find bothers me.


I know this blog is focused on women, but as women we have a duty to the other sex to treat them as equals.

What? Men's rights? Why do they need rights? They have always had rights and women have always been repressed! Get outta here....

Let's be realistic. Traditionally men have had more rights than women. They are better paid than women. They are more likely to be in management positions in the work force. The list goes on and on, there's no denying it. Traditionally females have had to fight to have equality, again no denying it. However does this make it okay for one sex to push the pendulum in the other direction, ever?

I worked in a daycare environment for many years. It's no big secret that usually day care providers are normally females around child bearing age. At one preschool I worked in we had a young man who was in school for elementary education apply for the position of lead teacher, and he was hired. Honestly, he was more qualified than half of the staff because childcare is typically an entry level position with no college level experience needed. To round out his resume, he had children of his own as well. So here was an experienced dad and future educator on staff, great right?

Not really, in the eyes of many mothers that brought their children in to the daycare. "Is he.. going to be changing diapers?" I had one very concerned mother ask me when I was in the room by myself with the toddler age kids one day. I didn't even know how to answer that without feeling indignant on his behalf. Why wouldn't he? He was staff! Was he automatically suspect because he owned a penis? Other mothers would not really speak to him when we worked in a class together, but would speak to me only. This guy was always friendly and professional, plus really great with the kids. But because of his gender he was never quite accepted by many of the mothers as a day care provider.

I have heard mothers say when they are at a park that if they see a dad there with his kids they think all kinds of interesting things. For instance, if dad is letting the kids swing higher in the swings than what they think a mom might like they "Tsk tsk" in their own minds and hope mom comes along soon to correct the father. Or if the dad tries to have a conversation with them they figure he is a creep trying to pick up ladies at the park, instead of just another parent trying to strike up conversation. Some moms get so upset by the dad on the playground scenario they move to the other side of the playground (because he might be a pedophile of course!) or they leave altogether, never noticing the fact that the dad is paying little attention to them and having fun with his own kids.

What really drives me crazy is how men are thought of as people who think with nothing but their stomachs and penises. How many times have you heard the phrase "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? Or even worse in the case of a cheating spouse "Well I guess he just wasn't happy in bed now, was he? I will never have that issue, my man gets is satisfied!". I know we all like a good meal and great sex can't be scoffed at, but is that all men like? NO. Maybe there are shallow ones out there that only like to eat and have sex, but they aren't the majority. Most men aren't much different than their female counterparts really. They want to you to be affectionate, have great conversations with them, laugh with them, let them vent and even vent to them sometimes and lots of other things. Why do we minimalize them to their basic needs?

Something that we have been seeing in a legal prospective, especially in divorce and custody agreements, is that men are often not given equal rights. Slowly this is changing but it is still not equal by a long shot. The default for most custody agreements is for the mother to have full custody of the children no matter what. Men usually don't even fight this because they know how the courts work, they don't really have a chance in hell of it being any other way unless the  mother is very abusive, woefully negligent or doesn't want custody. And the abuse or negligence is often difficult to prove and the custodial parent can attend parenting classes to preserve their custodial status. The battle is an uphill battle, worth fighting of course, but it starts off on unfair ground in the first place based on the fact that one parent has a penis and one has a vagina. That is the standard criteria.



Even with no extenuating circumstances and two parents who are loving and stable the default custodial parent will almost always be the mother. For no other reason than she is the mother. The only good thing we have going for us in the court system is that more and more custody cases are becoming shared custody instead of primary custody by one parent and the other having every other weekend plus some holidays. Like I said, it's changing, albeit slowly.

I will leave you with this statistic about male suicide rates. Why are the rates higher for men than women? I don't know. I am sure there are multiple reasons outside of social ones. It is a very scary statistic to read though and makes me feel like we need to really consider the overall mental health of men. We need to realize they are not all closet pedophiles. They don't all think with only their stomach and penises. They are good fathers, teachers, coaches, co workers, people who walk past us on the street and sit next to us on the bench at the playground.

"Males have a significantly higher rate of death by suicide than females, with an age-standardised rate of 17.4 deaths per 100,000 males in 2007, compared with 4.9 deaths per 100,000 females."- http://socialreport.msd.govt.nz/health/suicide.html
Monday, May 9, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Blog Love Fest the Sequel (by Melissa)

You know what is better than an original? A sequel of course! The Blog Love Fest was so much fun the first time around that I think it is time to do it again!

For those that have never done the Blog Love Fest here is a link to the first Love Fest:
First Blog Love Fest

This is where you, the reader, get to share your blog. Tell us all about your blog. The title, a link and what it is all about. Also, tell us about you! What got you into writing? Who are you? Do you do this for fun? Do you want to be a famous writer one day or is this just a hobby?

Also, show your fellow commenters some love by visiting their blogs too! Really what is a blog fest without making it a virtual block party? Just BYOB (bring your own blog) and have some fun. :)

Also, feel free to leave your email, twitter and facebook info to promote your blog. I love making friends and I am sure you guys do too.

The Power of the Apology (by Melissa)

I have done and said plenty of things in my lifetime that have hurt people. There is not a person alive that hasn't done the same. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally. The fact is that we are social beings and we are going to hurt each other from time to time.

I remember being 16 years old and I had a boyfriend named DJ who was a really nice guy. He was very sweet and would do pretty much anything to make me happy. I was quite immature and could not really handle being in a serious relationship. Simply put, he was more mature than I was and I knew it, deep down.

I broke up with him because I wasn't mature enough to handle the kind of relationship he wanted. In my defense, I was only 16 and didn't want to think about spending the rest of my life with anyone. He had made hints about our future together and comments of that nature. I liked him very much as a boyfriend but didn't want to lead him on to think that it would ever be more, so I ended things.

I also started a very casual relationship with someone else and word got around. DJ was very hurt by this, which I was so incredibly sorry for. I actually had tried to keep this casual relationship private, but a note I had written to the guy was found by his sister, who showed the ex girlfriend... who showed everyone who was willing to read it. You know, the usual high school drama. Also my first lesson that anything you write is not completely private!

All I can say is that I really agonized over the fact that I knew DJ was hurt by this. I never intended him to be. I tried to call him and he never answered my calls. I went by his work but he was never available to talk. I just wanted to talk to him and tell him that the casual relationship had nothing to do with him and that it shouldn't hurt him. That there was no comparison. That I had meant it when I said I didn't want a serious relationship. I wanted to hug him and....

What I ended up doing was writing him a letter and leaving it in his mailbox and it said all of those things. In the meanwhile pretty much our whole circle of friends had turned their back on me. The guy I was having a casual relationship with (which had ended and I was okay with that) had an ex in our group (the one who showed the letter I wrote to everyone) and it just made things very awkward for everyone. So, it was easiest for everyone to not associate with me I suppose. I didn't really blame them for it.

The apology didn't make me feel better. Not right away, not even a few years later. I thought about DJ often and hoped he was doing well in life. As I got older I stopped beating myself up over something that happened in high school. It's not like I had sex with someone while we were together, or flaunted a new relationship. I broke up with him and had a casual (yes, sexual) relationship with someone he knew. I never intended for him to find out, but he did. As an adult I feel good that I apologized for causing him any pain.

Lately I have been very agitated and grouchy over a personal situation and have been causing stress to someone I love very much. She and I have both been agitated and grouchy, she just has more patience than I do. Sometimes, apologizing opens the lines of communication and really helps to make everyone involved feel a little bit better. It might not solve whatever it is that caused the situation, but at least acknowledging that you owe an apology shows that you do care and aren't completely self centered. I really needed to self reflect and give that apology today.

Sometimes apologies are uttered and they have the power to be almost an anti-apology. For instance, have you ever heard someone say "Sorry about your luck." in a snarky, rude way? Are they really sorry? No, not at all. In fact, they are so not sorry that they are making a point of telling you they don't care by using the word "sorry" in a mocking tone.

Or when you go to a place of business and you get "I am sorry to hear that." when they clearly are not sorry to hear it. Example:

Me "Hi, I bought this Playstation game yesterday and it doesn't work. I would like to return it."

Store owner "I am sorry to hear that. Unfortunately we do not accept returns."

How I felt......


The only power the apology has there is to make me infuriated. It is not polite nor does it serve any purpose other than to say "Too bad".

How do you feel about the power of the apology? Is it wasted breath usually? Is saying I am sorry  very important? Does context matter? Does the recipient impact how much it matters?
Saturday, May 7, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Then and Now pics (by Melissa)

Hey everyone! I haven't been posting a great deal because my hands have been bothering me quite a bit lately. Carpal tunnel sucks, lemme tell ya. Hopefully this will subside again soon like it did last time and I can go back to typing with ease.

So until then I give you some pictures that I have saved in my computer. I hope that will suffice!






Monday, May 2, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Someone is Dead, a Man Had to Pull That Trigger (by Melissa)

As the title says, Osama BinLaden is dead, and a man had to pull that trigger.



"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says "Love your enemies," he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. ... The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation." Martin Luther King JR

I cannot get this out of my mind. Should Bin Laden have had to die? I am not going to argue that point. I can't mourn his death. I won't celebrate it either. That would make me NO better than the very people we are fighting in this war. They think they are killing Americans for good reasons too, right? They really believe this, with all of their hearts, just as we believe that Bin Laden deserved to die too for his crimes. They celebrate our peoples deaths. When our soldiers are killed they think it is a wonderful thing. We think it is horrible that they feel this way. It enrages us further, because we love our military. We hate them for the lives lost during the September 11th attacks, and yes we hate that they celebrated those lives lost. They think we are sinners, we saw him as evil. I am not sympathetic to their cause, never take that from what I am saying. I am not even a little bit. But I won't ever let myself be like them.

The difference between us versus them?

These terrorists let their children strap bombs to themselves and walk into supermarkets, blowing themselves up.

Many Americans are praying for the mental health of the soldiers who are fighting the war over there. And for those that don't pray, we think of them constantly and hope they are okay and safe. 

But let's REALLY think about this. And no, I don't think I am over thinking it.

My mind went to the fact that one of our own had to take the life of someone else in order for this manhunt to end. I know he was trained to do it. He has possibly done it before. He will possibly do it again. It is his job, he follows the orders and he willingly goes in and does his job. I understand the mindset of a soldier, as much as a civilian can. I have known many soldiers (including my ex husband) personally and have had this discussion in depth with them about how do you deal with the actual idea of pointing your gun at someone and pulling the trigger?

I absolutely get that our military men and women know it's part of their job, and they are well trained to do it. But, they are human. They don't become robots when they enlist. All of the training in the world cannot prepare every military person for taking the life of another human. Even if you know they will kill you if you don't. Even if you know they are evil. Even if you know they are the enemy. Even if they murder the person standing next to you. There really could be some mental fall out from taking the life of another human being. It's why so many people come back from a combat zone after having taken a life and they have such huge issues coping.

Being in the military doesn't make you less human.

So, I am thinking of this group of Navy SEALS that went in. Yes, they killed Bin Laden. That wasn't the only casualty. We know his youngest wife (and keep in mind, wives of this man were not woo-ed and given the option to marry him) was used as a human shield to protect him. Was she innocent, or a terrorist too? We don't really know at this point. That's not really my focus. I am thinking of the men who had to pull the trigger. Bin Laden got to mark at least one more person for the rest of his life with the burden of being the person who killed him. Even though Bin Laden was evil and I cannot argue that he should have remained alive, I am sorry that any of our people had to be the one that lives with the fact that they had to kill a man.

So tonight I am not rejoicing that our troops have to kill. I am not dancing that Bin Laden got shot. I am feeling weary for our troops that they have the burden of fighting this war. I am sorry they are living in a world where they have to face the situation of possibly having to take the life of another human to keep the rest of us safe. I cannot know that feeling. I don't know how they make peace with it, or even if they ever do.

I hope they know I love them and appreciate them for their service to us though. Thank you for being brave.

Reality Based TV: What's Your Opinion? (by Melissa)


There was an EXCELLENT show on MTV... I am trying to remember the name of it. Something like "If you knew the real me" I think.

Anyways, the kids I knew that watched that show were STUNNED with the stories they heard. Not that they weren't aware that bullying and peer pressure happened. Of course they were. But the nature of the teenage mindset is to be intrinsically motivated, so oftentimes they don't see past their own struggles and maybe the struggles of the friends and loved ones they care about the most.

It was eye opening to them to see that the jock might have a drug or alcohol addiction. That the popular kid might have a mental illness. That the quiet kid might actually be suicidal. That socially perfect doesn't mean they have their stuff together and life is gravy.

So, in some regards I think reality TV can be educational, or at the very least socially eye opening. Is it always or even most of the time? No, most of the time it is purely for entertainment value and the fluff can't even be deemed semi-educational or slightly realistic. And that's not horrible really, we need entertainment, as long as this "reality" tv isn't hurting people. But we can't turn our nose up at the fact that some (maybe very little of it, but indeed some) reality based tv can have an educational and good purpose to it.

Admittedly, I am an  American Idol addict. Ever since I was a young girl I loved to sing. In no way am I a wonderful singer, but like many people I sing in the shower and sing to the radio.  Watching American Idol allows me live vicariously through the contestants my dream to be onstage and singing for an audience. The dream to be recognized from being an everyday person to becoming a star.

The problem I have with this is the judges and the voters. Probably because I tend to not agree with them! Having a love/hate relationship with Simon Cowell for years made it hard to watch the show. But honestly, you don't realize what you had until it is gone. Now we know that his judging style was harsh and rude but at least he had the decency to be honest in his opinions. Currently the judges are perfectly pleasant, and will tell a tone deaf person they are absolutely wonderful, if a little pitchy.

Where has the reality gone in American Idol? And don't even get me started on the voters. How can they consistently vote for people with very little talent and not vote for the ones who have real talent? Is it a popularity contest or a singing competition? Where is the reality aspect of American Idol?

Obviously it works though if I spent the last few minutes writing about it and WILL be tuning in to watch regardless of my opinion of the show being sub-par at this point. What can I say? I am hooked. Reality, or semi-reality wins.

So, what is your opinion of reality TV? Love it? Hate it? Is there any educational value to it at all? Is it purely fluffy entertainment programming? Are people on these shows being exploited for their issues (think Intervention, 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, Hoarders)?


Thursday, April 28, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Thankful Thursday (by Melissa)

I was thinking earlier this week that I should do something like a weekly blog post of things that rock that I am thankful for. I have to admit that I am feeling kind of crappy this week so this post might be exactly what I need today.

What I really want to do is crawl back into my bed and go back to sleep. I am feeling kind of blah about things in general right now, so let me think about what I am thankful for and it may turn me out of this funk.

I am thankful for hearing my kids laugh. Yesterday we had a really fun evening and we were laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes and my belly kind of hurt. I love those kind of silly times! I fully admit that my kids inherited my extremely silly sense of humor, and when the three of us get going it can be utter chaos.

So today's Thankful Thursday is going to be a picture tribute to my munchkins, Ashley and Devin. They make me happy and make life worth living. Enjoy!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Adult Bullies, Are You One? (by Melissa)

I want to start this blog post with a definition.

From http://dictionary.reference.com:
Bully

(noun)
a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. 

(verb) (used without object)

to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.
I think it is very important to bring up the definition of "bully" because even as adults the line between normal societal behavior and bullying type behavior gets blurry for some people.  When is it okay to be opinionated and bitchy? Is it ever okay to be bitchy? Are there times where opinions themselves are inappropriate and cross the line of bullying?

I read a blog by a guy named Dan called Single Dad Laughing. He writes passionately about many subjects and is careful to say that his blog is an "opinion blog". He wrote a blog awhile back about his dog getting loose from his yard, naturally his son was upset. Of course they looked for the dog but he was just not to be found, unfortunately. There was a recent update about how Dan and Noah found a new dog. And let me tell you, the pictures and the accompanying blog post were adorable!

Most of the comments were great and supportive. There were a handful though bashing him because of the other dog that had gotten out of the fence, basically calling Dan a horrible pet owner and what the hell was he thinking getting another dog? They were extreme comments, I am not going to lie. It was really to the point of bullying and it made me sick to read them.    
"To be loudly arrogant and overbearing." Came to mind.
I am a group owner on a parenting website for a debate type message board. For the most part the posters on the board are funny, witty and super intelligent people. I love this board and visit it several times a day for the intellectual conversation. It goes without saying that on a debate board topics will become VERY heated at times. Most of the posters that have been on the board for a long time debate quite well without personally attacking the people on the other side of the debate. But there are absolutely posters on there who will resort to using hate speech and intimidating language during debates to belittle and demean the opposition.
I don't care what anyone says, they are using bullying tactics and they know it. The sickening part is they then blame the opposition for being too sensitive. Well you know when someone says you are a child abuser because you chose to get your son circumsized... I think it is okay to be offended by that.  It is most often an extremist group in a debate that will do this, not someone who is willing to state their case and agree to disagree. Nor is it someone who wants to educate others about why they made the choice that they made. When the extremists come out then you have a very vocal group terrorizing anyone who dares to disagree. 
"A blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person (or group) who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people (or smaller groups)." Comes to mind.
Women, we are horrible for this. Not all of us, and not all of the time. And I am sure men do it too. But I know, because I am a woman, that females have the ability to be horribly catty to each other in a bullying type way. I am not exempt, I have done my share of things that I am not proud of. 
Think about this ladies, the last time you said something like this about another woman in conversation with your friends:

"I can't believe fat people wear bikinis"

"That skinny girl really needs to eat something. She looks anorexic"

"You know the only reason she got that promotion is because she slept with every guy in the office"

"I don't get along with women, you can't trust them."

"I can't believe that woman would rather be with a woman. How gross."

"You know he wouldn't be with her if he hadn't got her pregnant. I mean she is fat and sloppy and he is hot."

"Women shouldn't be in the military. Why do they want to be like men?"

"Did you see that female bodybuilder? I swear that's a dude. Female body builders are gross."

"Why the hell does someone have that many kids? The vagina is not a clown car."

"You know guys only date blondes because they will give it up on the first date, right?"

"Did you see that girls ass? She is obese! I don't care if she does have a washboard stomach, you can't have a butt that big and not be obese. I don't care if you are a famous tennis player"

I could go on and on but you get the point. WHY do women tear each other down with this bully type behavior? Is it because we want to be the alpha female in all settings? Is it so they don't do it to us first? Is it competition? Why why why?

Why do parents do this to each other? Is it because we feel like our way is the only way to parent? Is it because we feel the need to be superior? Are we so insecure about ourselves that we have to bash other parents that do things differently? Do we really think we have all the answers and must force this knowledge onto the ignorant masses before the children self destruct into psychopathic blobs of useless flesh?

Why do adults do this to each other? Have we not matured enough to have adult conversations? Do we not posses vocabulary adequate enough that we need not drag out name calling and bullying type behavior? Must we dominate people in our life to make us feel as though we are, in fact, as great as we think we are? Is it a direct correlation to our self esteem to be the most right? Is the only way to solve a problem through intimidation and badgering? Must we be loudly arrogant and overbearing in our opinions? 

And does anyone who bullies and intimidates others with their beliefs honestly think that they are doing anything besides wasting their breath when they use this tactic?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to discuss adult bullying. I would love to hear your point of view and input in this debate!
 
Monday, April 25, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Have a Happy Period? (by Melissa)

I wonder what kind of masochist came up with that catch phrase? I know I am not the first woman to scoff at that "Have a happy period" nonsense that Always maxi pads tried to sell to us. But I feel particularly surly towards it today. My cousin Jenn was telling me about a line in a movie she saw this weekend. It went something like "I feel like I have a crime scene in my underwear" in regards to the actress speaking about her period. I can relate. Except my whole lower abdominal and back region feels like, at the very least, the scene of an assault.

How does a woman have a happy period? Well we don't, that's for sure. I have chugged Advil this morning and worked out lightly to loosen the muscles and try to ease the tension. Hahahaha, yeah. Heat works for a little while. Having the man massage my lower back works too, but unfortunately I can't carry him around behind me all day. So I suck it up and try to ignore it. Stupid period.

And of course we have the fun of wearing our apparatus to deal with the flow. I can't wear a tampon. As much as I would love to be able to, they are not comfortable to me. So, I get to wear a pad. This is the closest thing to a diaper I have worn since childhood. And did you all know they make pads for thongs? Not that I wear a thong, anything my butt crack can eat is pointless to wear. But a pad for a thong? Why? Nevermind, I don't want to know.

There's also this nifty device called a Diva Cup. I haven't tried it yet, but I probably will just because I am adventurous. Basically you take this soft cup and insert it at the opening to your cervix and it catches the flow. You rinse it out and pop it back in. Sounds great right? Except I am the queen of spills and blood isn't exactly easy to wash out of things. So yeah, that's kind of holding me back.



So apparatus and Advil aside, what the hell is supposed to make me have a happy period? I only have one idea in mind.

Chocolate wine anyone? Alcohol and chocolate in one. I deem this the perfect "period" beverage.
Thursday, April 21, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Why Abortion After 20 Weeks Should NOT be Illegal Across the Board (by Tamara via Melissa)

Yesterday during a discussion about the new laws passed in Oklahoma there was debate amongst some women I happened to be talking to about getting abortions after twenty weeks of gestation. Some were adamant that for no reason should you be able to. Some suggested there may be good medical reasons to have one done after twenty weeks. During the course of this discussion I heard the tragic story of a wonderful, courageous woman named Tamara. With her permission I am repeating the story here as I truly believe it is something we all need to hear when thinking about this topic. 
(if you are sensitive to things like abortion or child loss you may want to skip this blog post)

From Tamara directly as follows:



First of all, let me give you a little timeline that is not out of the ordinary at all. It's the one I went through almost three years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter who had Trisomy 18.

1. I had my AFP test done at 16 weeks. Two days later, I got a call from my doctor that it showed I had a one in ten chance of the baby having Trisomy 18.

2. By the time I got in for a level 2 ultrasound, I was almost 17 weeks. She was measuring behind at that time, so it was hard for them to see a whole lot. They thought she might have a cystic hygroma and a clubbed foot, but they weren't for sure. They recommended an amniocentesis because of it.

3. By the time I could do the amniocentesis because of the fact that the amniotic sac hadn't yet fused to the uterine lining, I was almost 18 weeks. They did that, and we went for the FISH results which come back in three to five days.

4. Because I had it done on a Friday, it was a Wednesday before the test results came back. It showed full Trisomy 18. I was almost 19 weeks.

5. My doctor recommended I not make any decisions until the full results came in. I was at 19.5 weeks when the full results came in, just a few short days away from 20 weeks.

So, that gives you a time line and shows you how long it can take to get a definitive diagnosis. Now, the rest of my story is pretty interesting, too. I am the face of what happens to women who have a medical problem when you limit abortions for social reasons.

My doctor had told me when we did the FISH results that I should be able to go to a hospital in Nashville to end the pregnancy through a labor and delivery abortion. She was wrong. The hospital there will no longer do it because of the political climate in the state. I thought I could go to an abortion clinic in the state. Again, I was wrong. Only two abortion clinics in Tennessee will do abortions past 14 weeks, and they will only do them to 16 weeks. My only other choice was to go to Atlanta, four hours and a whole state away.

So, we went. I felt like we were sneaking away to commit a crime, to do something illegal, when truly, the only thing I wanted to do was to keep my poor baby from suffering. They told me I would be eligible for a one day procedure and it would cost $1,500, which my parents gave us. We were assured we would be separated from the other women, the ones who were doing it for "social reasons." They were supposed to have in place a program to treat families like us in a special way.



Well, we get there that morning, and we aren't separated. My husband and I had to sit in a waiting room full of women who were terminating healthy pregnancies. I have always been pro-choice, but it was almost too much to take. Some were visibly upset, while others were clearly feeling relieved and happy. We waited for four hours in that miserable waiting room, being called back once to fill out paperwork, another time for me to be weighed and a third time for them to tell me they had made a mistake and I wasn't eligible for a  one day procedure. If I wanted to do it, I would have to come back at a later time.

They gave me an ultrasound that day to tell me how much it would cost to have it done the next week. This ultrasound showed that she had very little brain matter, a huge cystic hygroma, a clubbed foot and very little fluid around her, which indicated that her kidneys weren't working. We decided to go home and carry to term, although I did check around for my options in my state. I found one hospital that was still willing to do it in Tennessee, but you had to start out as the patient of one of their doctors and you had to go before their ethics board to state your case. Can you imagine having to do that when you already in pain over your child's diagnosis?




So, for each day that I carried her, I wondered if that was the day she was going to die. If I didn't feel her move, I wondered if she had died and I didn't know it. I felt like a walking coffin. People would congratulate me on my pregnancy and ask how it was going, and I didn't know what to say. My heart broke each time. I was scared for my family, for my then five year old, how she was going to take it if her much wanted and already much loved little sister was born alive and then died a few days later. I worried about my marriage, knowing many don't survive when a child dies. But mostly, I worried about the baby I carried and whether or not she was going to be in pain. I worried that if she was born alive that I would be able to do the right thing and offer only comfort care and not life-saving measures. I worried, day and night.



We didn't make it to full-term, and in some ways, I am extremely glad about that. I don't think I would have remained sane if we had. Her birth defects were worse than we had imagined. Her little skull hadn't formed correctly, and her head was mostly filled with fluid. Because of this, while she was being born, her head collapsed. It's not something a mother wants to imagine.

It will be three years in August since all of this happened. I am now doing all I can to fight these kinds of laws. I write letters, and in 2009, I even gave a speech in front of our legislature about it. I will be graduating next month with my degree in psychology and plan to pursue my masters in counseling and a graduate certificate in women's studies, because I know it will help me in my activist role.

To sum all of this up, when you limit abortions for social reasons, you also limit them for medical reasons. Also, I don't see how any woman can support these kinds of laws. Think about what you might be doing to yourself, to your daughters, to all the women out there when you do. 



------------------------------------


I want to sincerely thank Tamara for allowing me to share her story.