Saturday, July 28, 2012

Does This Judgment Make Me Look Pretty?

Copyright JSH 2006
It seems every few months I am writing something about how mothers judge one another. We judge one another for breastfeeding with or without covers, for screaming in birth, for not feeling happy with our birth experience and so on. Once your pregnant, everything is left up to be judged by everyone else. My newest peeve? Judging mothers who do not look pretty enough in their birth photos. Oh yes, you read that right. I've seen enough of this behavior to inspire a blog post about it.

In case you weren't aware, you can actually look too fugly in your birth photos. Not only that, but the type of birth you have dictates how gorgeous you will look in your pictures. Hospital birth with an IV, Pitocin and an epidural? Hideous troll. Elective c-section? Hideous troll with devil horns. Natural hospital birth? Moderately attractive, but with some drool on your cheek. Homebirth? Divine angel Goddess, glowing like all the stars in the night sky and sprinkled with a bit of faery dust direct from the Supreme Mother Faery Goddess's vulva.

Seriously, I have read way too many comments that go something like this, "Oh, you can totally tell she had a natural birth. She looks so peaceful and beautiful. That's the way it's supposed to look." Or, "There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who has had a natural birth at home." Are we fucking serious? Have we gotten bored enough with judging one another with every other aspect of pregnancy that we now have to move on to our looks? I have read, in horror, as other mothers pipe up to defend themselves for not looking serene and beautiful enough in their birth photos. "I don't have any photos like that. I was a last minute transfer that ended in a c-section. I was exhausted, blotchy and my eyes were puffy from crying about needing surgery." Some mothers have lamented that they do not have the glossy, soft-lit black and white photos of themselves birthin' a human in their kitchen that will get shared on several birthy Facebook pages. Others say they looked and felt great after birth, but they didn't get a chance to take photos because they were in the hospital and staff was in the way yadda yadda. And then others just plain feel the need to defend their birth choices no matter how they look due to the implication that it's only the natural birthing mamas who look gorgeous. Come on! With all that we feel the need to defend we are now adding birth glamour shots into the equation? Give me a fucking break. I hate that I've read comments from so many mothers who feel the need to justify why they don't have a share-worthy glorious birth photo. How incredibly sad. Have I mentioned that it's sad yet?

Our birth experience doesn't define how acceptably beautiful we are. Let me tell you this - one of the most beautiful birth photographs I have seen is of my friend. She looks like her gorgeous self. She is glowing and full of joyous anticipation in her eyes. She has that serene Goddess look that's super duper important. If I tell you the description of the picture, do you automatically assume it's a natural birth at home? Well, some people do. I have asked in several forums and that's the most popular guess.  It wasn't. She was strapped to a table, pumped full of meds and fluids, wearing a surgical cap and having a c-section to bring forth her twins. She was beautiful and it had nothing to do with how she was giving birth. Your beauty is not defined by your birth experience.

All women are beautiful when they give birth. It doesn't matter if you are loaded on pitocin, and epidural, demerol and hooked to bags of fluids. It doesn't matter if you are home, in a hospital, at a birth center or in the middle of the ocean with Flipper and his dolphin friends swimming circles around you. It doesn't matter if your baby is being cut from your belly or is sliding out of your vagina. Nor does it matter if your hair is perfectly in place, your make-up perfect and your skin flawless. Doesn't matter if your eyes are blood shot, the capillaries in your nose are broken and your sweaty head of hair is held up in a haphazard ponytail with a scrunchy from 1992 while you're wearing a neon yellow bra with a ketchup stain on it. Wherever and with whoever you bring your baby in the world, you are a beautiful woman. Goddesses give birth at home, in the hospital, with help and without it. They hypnotize themselves, they dance their babies out or they get epidurals. Some Goddesses get their babies cut out of them. The point is, every experience is beautiful, even if it's not what you planned. You are beautiful in your birth and your mothering and don't let anyone tell you any differently.

Clowns Are Evil and Yogurt Tastes Funny

I take pictures like this at 2am in my bathroom.
Not too long ago, I asked a question on my Facebook page. Is there something about you that people would be surprised to learn? No one answered with any stories about hidden bodies, which is a good thing. It's always interesting to find out new things about people. There are people who you know for years and are very good friends with who surprise you with little tidbits. A friend of mine started taking burlesque dance lessons a few years ago and recently performed live. I never knew. She didn't tell anyone because she was afraid they would judge her for sexy dancing or she was self-conscious and didn't think she was very good at it.

There are things that people may be surprised to learn about me. Some are fun. Some aren't.

I hate yogurt...because I think it tastes like semen. There. It's out in the open.

I am not superstitious in my daily life, but I can be very much so in my professional life. I will not say the following words at my job; bloat, colic and quiet. I believe saying the first two will bring in patients with those problems and the third word will ensure that a relatively smooth day will turn to shit. I will not cut the nails of an animal before it has emergency surgery. I feel like that dooms the animal to die under anesthesia. Also, I will give an uneven/lopsided shave job to animals coming in for emergency abdominal surgery. First, in an emergency you don't have time to make sure your edges are fine. Second, I believe a perfect shave job will doom the pet. I'm serious. When I place catheters, I have to drop the stylette (the part that does not stay in the vein) onto the floor. Doing so will ensure a smooth catheter placement. Pisses my co-workers off.

The biggest surprise is that I am shy. This is not a surprise to me and I find it hard to believe  that many people don't see it. This goes for people I know in my personal life as well as people I have only met on the internetz. The story goes that people think I am extremely confident and have high self-esteem. While it's true that I am confident in my decisions, my self-esteem is pretty low. I also have a reputation for being a bit of a bitch and not taking shit. This is true. I do stand up for myself. If you have done me wrong, I will let you know. If I'm mad at you, you will know. So, people assume since I am so willing to stand up for myself that I am very secure. I'm not. Thanks to all of the bullying throughout the years, I am extremely self-conscious. I always worry about how I look. I always worry about being laughed at. I always worry about sounding stupid. For years, I couldn't go to the store by myself. I barely ever made my own phone calls to businesses. I was always afraid to try new things. If I became interested in belly dance 10 years ago, that version of me would have never gone to classes without knowing someone in them. When my husband and I first started dating and we would go to the store or any place that required money, I would hand him my money - if I was paying for something - and have him go up to the cashier to pay for me. It's gotten a lot easier since having kids. I almost always have a mini sidekick.

Clowns scare the shit out of me. Mmm hmmm. Have you seen Poltergeist? We rented it when it first came out on BetaMax back in the early 1980's. I was about 5. There is this scene where an evil clown doll from Hades comes out and grabs a little boy during a thunderstorm. Scarred me for life. I used to have a clown doll in my bedroom. It was crocheted by my grandmother's friend. After seeing Poltergeist, my mom had to remove the doll (I would not touch it) and hide it in her closet until my adult years. I'm okay in a crowd. People have tried to send clowns over to say "hi" to me at various events thinking they will scare me. Nah. I'm okay in public, but in a home or when I'm alone is a different story. My childhood best friend collected clowns. She had dozens in her bedroom. Couldn't be in there alone with those devil beings. When I slept over, I turned to face the wall. My aunt had clown pictures in her bathroom (this should have been a sign that she's a bitchface). I swear they were watching me as I peed. I swear. Clowns are evil - don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Did I mention that yogurt tastes like semen?

I don't own a single pair of white socks. I blame the Spice Girls. Yes, the Spice Girls. I don't even know any of their songs - all I know is they had some verbal uttering where they all had this collective seizure and kept saying "zigazigahhhhhh" or some shit in one of their songs. That's almost all I know of them, except for a bit about socks. They were on TV being interviewed and, as I was scrambling to find my remote control (those were the size of a cereal box back then, kids), the interviewer asked one of them about her socks. They were bright and funky and she said (and I'm paraphrasing since this was 80 years ago), "I always wear bright and fun socks. Even if I'm having a bad day, I can look down and see happy feet." I thought that was a little bit cool and started buying my own funky little socks. It's over a decade later and my sock drawer is a rainbow of colors and images and there isn't a single plain white one in there.

Alan Rickman makes my pants fit funny.

So does Alan Cumming.

I do not drink and I've never been drunk. I have never done drugs. I am a total hippie who does not and will not smoke pot. This floors people. First, the drinking. At least once a month someone will tell me that I "just have to" get drunk just once in my life. No, no I really don't. I will have a glass of wine once in a great while. I don't even finish that. I don't have any alcohol in my house. My decision to not get drunk or high has been incredibly socially isolating, though people who cannot accept me just because I don't alter my mind in their way are simply not worth my time.  I wasn't necessarily raised this way. My parents are not drinkers and there was never alcohol in the house, but they never harped on me about drinking or drugs. My husband is an alcoholic. He's been sober since the first year of our relationship because I made it quite clear that if he wanted to pursue things with me he would have to quit drinking and smoking. He did. He comes from a family of drinkers. His grandfather was an alcoholic and died because of it. His stepfather was a raging alcoholic, even after receiving some organ transplants, and it eventually killed him. My husband's mother died as a result of an aneurysm, which was not helped by years of prescription drug abuse. I'm not longing for the experience of being drunk. There is not a single thing about it that appeals to me. I also fear who I would become if I was drunk. Some people think I'd be just hilarious. I believe that I would be insanely violent. As such, I'm not one to find out. Pot is the same. Everyone thinks that I must be incredibly pro-marijuana and that I grow my own. I've never smoked it and I have no desire to do so. The smell makes me incredibly ill and I can't stand being around people who have recently smoked it for that reason. Like alcohol, I have no desire to experience it. I'm goofy enough as it is and I don't feel the need to get drunk or high. It also doesn't help that there have been way too many - and I mean WAY TOO MANY - people in my life who have battled addiction, who have died, who have gone to jail and who have been killed as a result of alcohol and drugs. It's just not for me.

I listen to Eminem. He makes my teeth sweat.

I think Jell-O and any kind of flavored gelatin product like it is vile. It looks like troll boogers and probably tastes like troll boogers.

I love Frankenstein. Ok, technically, the monster in the novel isn't actually named anything, but everyone in this day and age refers to him by his "daddy's" name, Frankenstein. I love the novel. I connect with the idea of being a loathed outsider. I don't quite connect with being pieced together with bits o' dead people, but we can make a pass at that. I don't collect anything, per se, but I do have an awful lot of Frankenstein Halloween decorations.

I love, love, love Laurel and Hardy. Yeah, the 1930's comedy team. I think they are hilarious.

I bought....used my own money...a Britney Spears cd.

I am terrified of thunderstorms. For that reason, I am really into meteorology. A lot of my friends ask me about forecasts and weather stuff, especially during severe weather outbreaks. I study weather and thunderstorms because I fear it. The more I know, the less I fear. The sole reason I ever started using internet on my phone was to access radar 24/7. I have even paid $10 for a super fancy radar app.

I super love Marilyn Manson. Love him. I also love him. For whatever reason, this shocks some people. I'm not down with his drug use, obviously, but I think he is incredibly intelligent and just plain beautiful. We both worship David Bowie. 

My husband and I share a wedding anniversary with John and Abigail Adams. No, that wasn't planned. I didn't learn about that until a few months before we were married. Oddly enough, John Adams is one of my most favorite historical figure and we honeymooned in Massachusetts and took anniversary trips there, visiting Adams National Historic park (on Occtober 28 - the anniversary of Abigail Adams death - how weird is that?). I was into him way before he had his own mini series on HBO. My interest was initially peaked in 1997 when I went (6 times) to see Brent Spiner ("Data" from Star Trek) play Adams in the Broadway play 1776. My boyfriend back then was a historian whose area of expertise is the American Revolution. I am from Philadelphia and surrounded by history at every step, so it was quite easy to indulge my interests. I'll say this, even though he got his own HBO show, John Adams is one of the most underrated figures in American History.

I own a Twilight pillowcase. It has a picture of Robert Pattinson (Edward) on it. I'd be happy to lick the sparkles right off him. Don't judge. 

I've gone nearly my entire life thinking that coffee cake actually contains coffee. I was floored...utterly shocked...when I learned the truth.

I have never been bowling.

I take pictures of trees that have knots or other bumps/patterns that look like boobs, penises or vulvas.

Someone got a Brazilian...
Copyright JSH 2012

And last - it took me three months to finish this. This was sitting in the Blog Oubliette (Labyrinth reference FTW) for a while. Usually, posts that end up as drafts never see the daylight. I just found this and thought I'd finish it. Sadly, I couldn't think of many interesting tidbits about me. Even worse, I'm much more boring in person.

Friday, July 20, 2012

People In Glass Movie Theaters

By now, just about everyone in the USA and across the world has heard of the unbelievable tragedy that happened in Colorado in the very early morning hours of this day. Reactions have been mostly the same from the majority of sane people - holy shit, that is the most horrible thing. It's a heartless tragedy. Right? Right. However, many news reports are mentioning that there was a 3 month old in the theater. Now, that baby is ok and has been released from the hospital. All day long, I have been reading comments on Facebook, Twitter and various news sites about the baby. There was discussion about the baby on the radio. Sadly, most people are not saying, "Oh yay, the baby is okay." No. There is a shitstorm of judgment. "Why the hell is that baby at a movie theater? Who does that?" Or, the worst comment I read (which was later removed), "Those parents are just as much to blame as the gunman."

Are you out of your fucking mind? Can we just shut up with the inane judgment for five damn minutes - just this once? We have a dozen people dead. We have over 50 people injured. Call me crazy, but maybe we should focus our energy on praying for these people, sending them aid, thinking positive and healing thoughts for them. You know, crazy shit like that. Oooh, here is another off-the-wall idea - why don't we reserve our judgment for the worthless pile of DNA who decided to dress up in body armor and bring a bunch of guns to the theater so he could open fire on hundreds of innocent people. Personally, I think any anger and "what the fuck" sentiment should be directed at him.

As for the parents of the baby, maybe that was the first chance that they got to go out. Maybe they hired a sitter and had a big date night planned and it was mom and dad's first chance to go out, but the sitter cancelled so they decided to still go and bring the baby. Maybe mom had a difficult birth and a difficult recovery that was colored by post partum depression and this was the first time she finally felt human enough to walk out the door, but she didn't want to leave the baby with someone for whatever reason. I'm pretty sure when they packed their diaper bag full of diapers, wipes and a blanket that they weren't thinking they'd need a Carter's bulletproof vest in size 0-3 months. Now these parents have just lived through one of the scariest nights of their lives, they could have lost their child or their own lives and they get the added joy of being under the national microscope and judged for being "bad parents."

We call ourselves human, huh?

I've brought babies to the theater. Go ahead a judge me. I'm sure the people sitting in judgment are absolutely perfect and have never done something that another person would deem "incorrect." Right? Seriously, if you don't like babies in movie theaters then don't bring your baby to the movie theater. Yes, it's one thing to roll your eyes when Bella and Edward are vampire humping and you hear a baby start crying, but it's another thing to harshly judge parents who almost lost their child. There will be something else deserving your judgment tomorrow, I'm sure. Save it for then.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm Sorry, This Uterus Has Been Closed Until Further Notice

Copyright JSH 2011
"You're not having more kids? That's not right. Are you sure you know that's what you want?"

Those words came to me in an email after I had stated that I do not intend on having anymore kids. Am I sure that's what I want? No, I'm not sure. At this time, it's the right decision. Unless I have some life-altering epiphany or God personally chucks a dove through my window, I am done getting myself knocked up and pushing babies out of my body. When I tell people this, they think I must be insane. They think I must not know my own heart and my own body. It's not an easy decision to make.

As I write this, my news feed on Facebook is blowing up with news of a pregnancy announcement. I am happy for the person, but I will be honest and tell you that it stings my heart a little bit. I secretly have been jealous of people announcing pregnancies and having new babies. It's because I know those days are done for me. I'm done charting temperatures and obsessing over gobs of cervical mucus. I'm done peeing on sticks to determine fertility or pregnancy. I'm done carrying secrets for a few weeks before surprising everyone with a happy announcement. There are so many things I will miss about being pregnant. I see preggoids every day and jealously gaze upon their bellies knowing I won't ever experience a gloriously large belly with brand new stretch marks again. I will miss the feelings of my little baby kicking, rolling and dancing within me. I will miss keeping my hand on my belly and telling my little one - through my heart - that all will be well and mama loves him/her. There are so many joys in pregnancy and I will miss each one and I long for them when I see other women experiencing it.

I always wanted at least 6 kids for as long as I could remember. I didn't come from a large family - I have two older brothers and that's it - but I just loved the idea of large families. If you told my 20 year old self that her 33 year old self would be writing a blog about being done after three pregnancies she would have told you to fuck off because that's just dumb. And here I sit, writing about being done after three pregnancies that resulted in two live children. Me...the girl who has been so involved in birth activism since she was 16 years old. I was born to have lots of babies on my hip. That's what I always told myself. It wasn't just one thing that changed my cards and gave me a new deck entirely. It's been brewing. I've slowly had to realize that something I always dreamed of won't come to fruition for me.

My first pregnancy was relatively smooth. I had a hiccup here and there because a few things nearly risked me out of a birth center birth and my birth plan was eventually  fucked up by my own midwife, but things were pretty smooth overall and the birth could have been much worse. I had a glorious and giant belly. I was happy and secure and didn't worry much about pregnancy or birth. I started to show symptoms of pre-eclampsia in my final week of pregnancy, but my midwives helped me manage that with diet. I was able to give birth naturally. Breastfeeding came easily and so did mothering. I like to think I did a splendid job during the first three years of my son's life. I was the quintessential gentle mother and attachment parent. I was calm, happy and I loved my role as a mother above all else. 

I got pregnant again in 2010 and things rolled along perfectly fine until 8 weeks when I discovered that my baby, River,  died and I ended up miscarrying. I don't know why it happened. Maybe it was from low progesterone. Maybe my thyroid was wack. Maybe I was exposed to something scary at my job in a veterinary clinic. Maybe God hated me. I don't know why and I never will. That miscarriage kicked me down a giant negative hole from which I have barely escaped. Gone were my days as a gentle mother. My poor son was caught in the crossfire of my grief and my inability to control my emotions. I became depressed, withdrawn and enraged. My family, my friendships, my job and my sanity suffered big time. Horrible thoughts about the death of my baby would invade my mind at all hours of the day. I couldn't escape it and knew that, if I survived, I would never be able to get through something like that again. I was lucky to have the strength of my family and a few good friends to pull me through and push me back towards some passable semblance of sanity. I question whether I would ever be pregnant again. I ached to carry a child once more and to successfully bring that child into the world, but I was wrapped up in a fear of loss and ashamed that I had lost my sense of serenity in my parenting.

Despite my fears, I charted, temped and progesterone (Progest-E) supplemented my way into getting pregnant again in November of 2010. I told myself and my hubby that there was at least one little spirit who was still waiting to make her way into the world. I knew I was meant to have a little girl. When that line showed up I was excited and terrified. When I first got my positive preggo test with my son, I was terrified of becoming a new mom and being good enough. With my 2nd, I was terrified of having more than one kid and loving more than one. With this third pregnancy, I was terrified of loss. From the day I peed on that first stick (I probably took a wee on 10 in subsequent days, obsessing over the darkness of lines even though I know that it means nothing) to the moment she flew out of my vagina, I could not relax. That fear of loss was stuck right there in the back of my mind at every moment. It was completely palpable.  I was afraid to truly bond with my baby because I felt like I was always sitting on the edge of tragedy. The fact that my pregnancy wasn't as smooth as my first did not help matters. By the time I was 8 weeks I was experiencing a lot of pain in my tailbone. This left me in a panic because I experienced the same symptom just days before my miscarriage with River. After breathing some calm into my brain, I told myself it was likely due to the fact that I have a retroverted uterus and the weight of the growing baby was putting pressure on my tailbone. This does happen to some reason and it usually resolves itself by the 2nd trimester when the uterus is large enough to tip into a more forward position. From that time on, I had near debilitating pain in my tailbone and pelvis. I did yoga. I walked. I stretched. I belly danced. I whined. It didn't help. Granted, it would have been worse without all of that. There was constant pain on my pelvis' part and constant worry on my brain's part. There were many days where it felt like my vagina was being stabbed by at least a thousand knives. Now, that may sound kinky and perhaps it's in the pages of Fifty fucking Shades of Grey, but I assure you it isn't a walk in the park. Speaking of walks in the park, those became limited. I am a very active person and I like to be out and about. We take frequent walks and hikes, but those activities became limited when I was pregnant. I was not able to keep myself in the proper shape. By 20 weeks, I realized it was never an issue of my uterus dry humping my tailbone. I actually had symphasis pubis dysfunction (SPD). That's where the little bit of cartilage that holds your pelvis together (feel your pelvic bone right by your clitoris - that's where it is) just says, "fuck it," and gives up on it's job and makes you all out of whack and painful. I need to write a separate post on that one of these days. While it is agonizing for some women, including myself, it is not threatening. Doing my job became more difficult and I stupidly did my best to work through the issue and not complain about it. Because when you complain about it to women who have not suffered with SPD you are met with eyerolls and comments that, "of course your back and your crotch hurt when you're pregnant. Suck it up." So, that sucked. In the middle of my second trimester, I developed the flu from hell. I was sick for three weeks straight. It ended in a trip to the hospital where they diagnosed strep throat and Scarlett Fever on top of the flu. My mind was washed in anxiety over losing the baby due to my constant 102 degree fevers and the stupid illnesses. I recovered from the flu and started to feel more definite and regular baby movements. I was happy. Then, toward the end of my second trimester, I apparently decided to have high blood pressure one day. My BP spiked to 158/70 one day at work and continued with an erratic pattern for weeks. The initial fear was placental abruption, which wasn't the case. Then we ruled pre-eclampsia out. Turned out I had iatrogenic systolic hypertension - translation: we really don't have a fucking clue why your blood pressure is high, so take it easy. My midwife was frustrated for me. I managed the pressure with diet and acupuncture (it literally dropped the day I got my first treatment and never came back) and I faithfully check my pressures through the day, gave in to many blood and urine tests each week and was ordered to restrict my activity. I was placed on desk duty at work and had to keep my feet up at home. After my pressure got under control, my feet started to swell to the size of small toddlers. I had pitting edema and deep calf pain. Oh fabulous - now we had to worry about the possibility of deep vein thrombosis, which does run in my family. Another hospital trip. No DVT, but I was given more orders to stay the heck off my feet. Because that is easy with a 4-going-on-five year old. Wait, we're not done. I then ended up with a ruptured ear drum and was completely deaf for two weeks. So, my crotch hurt, I was worried about blood pressure, my feet were fat, I wasn't allowed to be up for more than 15 minutes at a time and I couldn't hear the people who were talking to me and asking me if it was normal for a human to have "ankles so big." Oh, and I was anemic. Geez. I was constantly worried that the other shoe would drop throughout the entire pregnancy. Here I am, some birth activist who tells other women to truth their bodies and I was unable to relax, exhale and truly trust in my own body. I was always scared.

I don't even consider that pregnancy to have been complicated. It was just colored with a lot of ups and downs, and the downs really affected my psyche. I knew by the end of that pregnancy that I will likely never have another baby. It's been almost a year since I gave birth to my daughter and my feelings are pretty much the same. I don't think I can do it again. It's not just the physical things that worry me, the fear is incredibly overwhelming. I've had constant anxiety about terrible things happening to my children since my miscarriage and to have that heightened during pregnancy is rough. I don't want to put a sweet, developing little baby under so much stress in what's supposed to be the warm and nurturing environment of my womb.

I also think I'm a crappy mother. My emotional life has changed drastically since my miscarriage. I have been working hard to rid myself of so many negative feelings and rage. It's a constant battle on some days. I miss the super gentle and laid back person...mother that I was before losing my baby. I yell way too much. I get overwhelmed too easily. Perhaps I can't emotionally handle another child. I feel weak to admit that.

Maybe I'm a wimp. Maybe I should suck it up. Maybe I wasn't truly meant to be a mother. Whatever it is, I think I'm done with the pregnancy and birthing phase of my life. It makes me so sad to type those words out. There is a large part of me that feels like I failed myself. I won't ever be that glorious fertile Goddess, always beautifully pregnant. My dream of a large, happy family is dashed by my own emotional, physical and even financial short-comings. It's not an easy decision to make. My husband is saddened by this. He wants one more and he feels a bit bummed when I tell him that I feel like we are done. He is very understanding of my reasoning, though, so it's not an issue that causes a rift in our relationship.

It's other people. I constantly get, "oh come on! You love preggos and babies. You can squeeze out one more!" As if it were really as simple as "squeezing out one more." I've also gotten, "you can't let a couple of bad experiences get you down." Really? A dead baby isn't a bad enough experience? Really? I know people aren't trying to tell me what to do and they don't intend harm when they make comments. It sends a bit of a pang through my heart when I am constantly reminding folks that, yes, the uterus is closed for business.

It goes without saying that we must always be careful when we advise other people on their reproductive happenings. We never know what is really going on inside a woman's heart. For many reason, the decision to have more children is not at all easy and takes a lot of thought. It's definitely not always an easy decision to stop having more kids, especially when you have always planned on having a big houseful of them. Of course, the moment you change you mind and say, "sign me up for 6 more kids," the world will then accuse you of being a "breeder" with too many kids and ask if you realize that your vagina is not a clown car. Sometimes, you just can't win.

What about you? Did you originally intend on a gaggle of babies, but ended up scaling back on those dreams? Has the decision whether or not to have more children been hard on you and your family?

P.S. looking through some pregnancy photos of mine to choose for this blog was sad. Just sad. I will miss that part of my life.

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