Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd

We were sitting each on our preferred couches in our living room while Lance was reading and he said, “What’s selective reduction”? I knew exactly what he was talking about. Do you what that term means? It’s an abortion by a different name. When it’s one baby, they call it an abortion. When you are pregnant with multiples and abort a baby or a few of the babies, it’s called selective reduction. Yes, selective as in you are choosing which or how many of your babies to abort.

Below is an excerpt from a feminist and reproductive rights activist named Amy Richards. This is extracted from her 2004 Op-Ed piece that she wrote for the New York Times.

Amy had an unplanned pregnancy at 19 and had an abortion and then at 33 while trying to become pregnant, without the use of drugs, she became pregnant with triplets. This is a piece of what she wrote on choosing to abort some of her babies via the euphemistic name, selective reduction.

My immediate response was, I cannot have triplets. I was not married; I lived in a five-story walk-up in the East Village; I worked freelance; and I would have to go on bed rest in March. I lecture at colleges, and my biggest months are March and April. I would have to give up my main income for the rest of the year. There was a part of me that was sure I could work around that. But it was a matter of, Do I want to? I looked at Peter and asked the doctor: “Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?” The obstetrician wasn’t an expert in selective reduction, but she knew that with a shot of potassium chloride you could eliminate one or more.

Having felt physically fine up to this point, I got on the subway afterward, and all of a sudden, I felt Ill. I didn’t want to eat anything. What I was going through seemed like a very unnatural experience. On the subway, Peter asked, “Shouldn’t we consider having triplets?” And I had this adverse reaction: “This is why they say it’s the woman’s choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That’s easy for you to say, but I’d have to give up my life.” Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn’t be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It’s not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I’m going to have to move to Staten Island. I’ll never leave my house because I’ll have to care for these children. I’ll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don’t think that deep down I was ever considering it.

When we saw the specialist, we found out that I was carrying identical twins and a stand alone. My doctors thought the stand alone was three days older. There was something psychologically comforting about that, since I wanted to have just one. Before the procedure, I was focused on relaxing. But Peter was staring at the sonogram screen thinking: Oh, my gosh, there are three heartbeats. I can’t believe we’re about to make two disappear. The doctor came in, and then Peter was asked to leave. I said, “Can Peter stay?” The doctor said no. I know Peter was offended by that.

Two days after the procedure, smells no longer set me off and I no longer wanted to eat nothing but sour-apple gum. I went on to have a pretty seamless pregnancy. But I had a recurring feeling that this was going to come back and haunt me. Was I going to have a still birth or miscarry late in my pregnancy? I had a boy, and everything is fine. But thinking about becoming pregnant again is terrifying. Am I going to have quintuplets? I would do the same thing if I had triplets again, but if I had twins, I would probably have twins. Then again, I don’t know.

It’s hard for me to believe that this woman could ever look at the baby she chose to have and not think of the other two but she is so frank and comfortable with her decision that maybe she doesn’t. I believe they were never more than blips on a sonogram machine to her. It’s very hard for me to swallow and I have lots of thoughts that come rushing at me when I read this.

What about the son? Will he always wonder about the siblings he had that he never got to meet? Almost like an adopted child who knows they have biological siblings somewhere: Would they have looked like me? Talked like me? What would my life have been like with them here? I feel like when that child grows up that they will have to ask these questions.

Then, I’m struck with the selfishness of the decision, not only and ultimately for the babies, but in regards to Peter also. They were trying to have children together. He obviously wasn’t sure of the decision. “Shouldn’t we consider having the triplets?”, he said. And when the procedure time came in her own words she said, “He stared at the sonogram screen at three heartbeats and said, “I can’t believe we are about to make two of those disappear.” Just because a father doesn’t carry the child, they are equal partners and they BOTH wanted and TRIED to have these babies. Does he not have a say as to whether or not his partner intentionally takes two of their lives? I could never imagine being in her shoes in general but I could never imagine being pregnant, considering aborting a child, and not considering my husband’s/partner’s wishes to have ALL of our children. There is SO much selfishness in thinking we are entitled to do whatever we want as long as it serves us.

Since when is being pregnant and raising children EVER the convenient option? I heard a friend once say that someone told her when trying for a child, “Make sure that you aren’t just ready to have a baby, but that you are ready to have ANY kind of baby.” Those words are extremely wise. Everyone thinks they will have one baby, no complications. You will largely remain unchanged and you will have a healthy normal child with no disabilities and they will grow up, move out, and have their own family. Not always true, people. When you choose to get pregnant, you are assuming any number of possibilities both from how many you will have at once and what capacities the child will have and how that will effect your life. Unless you are prepared to be responsible for all options and numbers and committed to them, by all means, don’t get pregnant. If you think carrying a child or children and raising them while they are small is a burden, trust me, to you, they will be.

Lastly, I’m bothered by her comments that:

She would have to move to Staten Island, never be able to leave the house because she would have to “care for these kids” and she would only be able to shop at Costco and would have to buy big jars of mayonnaise. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard someone talk so flippantly about motherhood or discuss it as such collateral damage. We are talking about babies here. These are people! Your people, for that matter, made of you that YOU wanted to conceive. They are not burdens. They are not sentences. They are blessings. When she talks about these babies, she is completely detached.

Yes, children do inconvenient things. They color on your walls. They get you up at 3 a.m. and, heaven forbid, they make you buy more food and dare I say, even large jars of mayonnaise! Any person that thinks these momentary life adjustments are burden enough to knock a few babies off, should not be a mother. If you prize your life so greatly above the honor of raising another human being that shopping at Costco is your greatest concern, why should you ever parent even one child?!

This life is not about living every dream as seamlessly as you planned to the glory of yourself all so it can end up in some dumb scrapbook, magazine article, internet sensation that won’t be known about in 2 generations after your death. Living a life only for yourself to see the world, do what you want, when you want, how you want, sounds more like the wishes of the spoiled than a wise adult.

Anything that is of any value will cost you something and I’m sure the career this mother has had an activist has cost her something. However, that isn’t a burden because it was worth it to her. If anything about children seems not worth it to you, don’t ever be a mother because it is a hard job and you can’t live for yourself. Who really wants to live for themselves? I can’t even wrap my mind around it. I can’t think of much more shallow way to live than only considering your greatest desires and needs above anyone…even the father of your kids who is questioning you taking the life of his children.

Anyone who has ever been a mother knows that there is no greater joy than raising a child. Even a mother who has raised a child through tragedy, through unplanned situations, through struggle….a mother loves that she raised life and she adores, protects, and defends that life. Mothers would do it all again if need be and would never say, “Sweet child, you were a burden to me.”

We can’t do that. Love prevents sacrifice from feeling like surrender. We were the lucky ones to leave a job we loved to stay at home with them or to go work to make ends meet so that are children wouldn’t do without.

Children in our society have come to be seen as hindrances. Children “cost too much”. They demand too much of our time and require too much self sacrifice of time, sleep, and money that, believe me, none of us could find a better way to spend anyways than raising children.

Life beating in the wombs of any of us is a miracle. I can’t wrap my mind around calling myself a mother and deciding how many and which of the kids in my womb get to be born because of how much easier it would be for me if they just weren’t all here.

God forgive our culture that when You say children are a blessing, that we say, “Yeah, well that depends on what I’ll have to do for their sake.”

Come, Lord Jesus.

The Media Monster

I know it’s ironic for a blogger to say but, sometimes I hate technology.  I should be more specific, I hate phones.  I think phones are the communication devices that have made people ignore each other during a million dinners, thousands of dates, (insert your situation).  I, for one, don’t care about my phone.  As a matter of fact, people often complain that I don’t answer my phone and I’m pretty dang proud of my UN-availability at times.  I am with two daughters all day and they keep me busy and I want them to, both with their needs and with the simple play and attention they want and I want to give.  I refuse to be tied to my phone all day and carry it with me every time I take a trip from room to room and I’ll be danged if I have to push a grocery cart and dig a phone out with the other hand.  Not to mention, when I get on the phone running errands, I pace the aisles aimlessly and forget stuff or even worse, just put a bunch of crap in my cart.  Phones are just a big distraction.  A smart phone is like one of those fuzzy cute Gizmo creatures from Gremlins.  They were cute until they got wet and then they became Gremlins.  Once there was a harmless little phone connected to a long cord in your house.  It was really cool if the cord was long enough for you to stretch it into your room.  Then phones shed their cords and became portable.  Then phones became cell phones and then Steve Jobs sprayed a bunch of water on them and made them robotic, superior functioning beasts that go everywhere, do everything, including entertain you and keep you plugged in at all times.  Emphasis on at ALL times.

If you are waiting in line, check your email, play a game with angry foul, take pictures of the wedgie in front of you, post the picture, tweet the picture, text the picture, then make a rap about that wedgie in the admittedly awesome, AutoRap app.  I truly believe that people have lost the art of sitting still, being alone, being with others and engaged, and the art of having a much simpler life.

My husband is a twitter junkie and really, I hate Twitter largely to his overuse.  When he reads me a tweet from a busy man that says, “Out with my children at Pei Wei”, it ticks me off!  I think, “Just be with your family!  If you are out with your kids having a dinner, BE with your kids.”  I don’t want my children to link their parents to using their phones.  I want to be present and experience my life versus relaying my life to others.  I just think that at the end of a life, do you really want to say, “I spent 150,000 hours on social media and my IPhone.”  What a waste!  I don’t think it’s a waste to share pictures of family and kids and to keep in touch with friends on Facebook etc. because everything is good in moderation.  However, the constant, disruptive “I can’t part with my phone or put it down” lifestyle is shallow and sad to me.  To me, being on your phone all day, a million times is nothing more than a glorified video game.  But hey, reading tweets from celebrities and people you don’t know for an hour total a day is more entertaining than playing XBOX.  Maybe, but it’s no more noble.  I’ll take it one further…reading great blogs, political posts, scripture based, educational articles is great and can be a good use of your time UNTIL you do it while you are with your kids, UNTIL you are doing it on dates, UNTIL you aren’t getting work done, UNTIL you started doing it while driving, UNTIL you do it at stoplights, lunches, and every free moment because you are addicted to the click-able life of the mindful and mindless entertainment at your fingertips.

It’s not so much that technology isn’t a blessing, it’s that it’s not balanced and seldom enjoyed in moderation.  To add to that, by all means if my blog takes up time from you that need be spent elsewhere, please don’t waste precious time with me.  I blog because writing is a gift and I like to put something of value out there for moms and other people to read as hobby or in their free time but the best post I’ve ever written is not worth stealing your time from something of priority.  I don’t want to be your Angry Bird.  I can be your break for the day, lunch break, unwind, de-stresser but I never want to be your distraction.

The truth is, we are all guilty of clicking our way through our days.  It’s easy.  It’s tempting.  It’s an escape to a degree but it’s taking over our families and lives.  I’ve always sort of had an aversion to all of it and hated the complicating factors of simple technology.  I didn’t get my first cell phone until 22 and it was begrudgingly.  I didn’t get my first smart phone until 2 months ago, also begrudgingly.  Why did I?  Because all phones are transitioning to smart phones and I knew I would be forced to next time.

If you want to get a hold of me, you can call but I may not answer.  The problem is I forget to call people back as well in the mayhem of daily life.  If you leave me a voice mail, you might as well have sent a handwritten letter.  I would check the real mailbox much faster. You can send me a text and I’m pretty good for those because I can respond to a text in 30 seconds in between a conversation with my child and a phone call takes full attention from me and causes me to need to put my kids on hold. Texts are much more kid friendly.

I refuse to love my phone more than family. I will never love the app that tells me what rating a restaurant has more than the pleasure of eating at that restaurant with my loved ones, totally ignorant or unconcerned with those facts.

I miss having a phone with no features and a pager that doesn’t tell me how to get down the street or what 50 people just did in their lives in the past five minutes.  Those phones with blasted twirly tangled cords were cumbersome and inconvenient but the irony is, the life I had then wasn’t.

Sometimes I really don’t think we are smarter now than 100 years ago.  Technology today reminds me of an old historic downtown or even the pyramids. They were made hundreds and hundreds of years ago with less technology but they are far more beautiful with unbelievable detail.  Today most homes are slabs with no arch ways, no amazing stone work, etc. yet we have all the tools. I think our lives look a lot like that:  we have it all but we’ve lost all the character along the way.  There isn’t depth to a social media life or living done through reading about others.  For people that have it all, we are sure working on having nothing.

 

Too Sexy For the Yearbook

And no, I’m not talking about myself in high school.  None of my yearbook pictures qualified as too sexy or honestly, even mildly attractive.  In my entire yearbook collection, I may have 3 good yearbook pictures and 2 of the 3 were first grade and kindergarten where you are cute by default. Yearbook photogenic-ness dodged me on an annual basis.

What I’m talking about in my title “Too Sexy For the Yearbook” is the controversy surrounding a Colorado senior’s portrait submission.  Not one, but two of her submissions were denied for being too sexy.  The teen’s mother and the teen herself are causing a ruckus and even contacting the ACLU for help in….I don’t know what.  I don’t know if they want to change the regulations of the ever intense yearbook committee or get the pictures accepted.  Either way, I have three words:  It’s a yearbook.  This isn’t Vanity Fair.  It’s a yearbook.  This book is also known as a book that chronicles your journey from bangs, to braces, from acne, to spray tan and straight teeth in the 12th grade, in alphabetical order.

You only look up the people you remember and if your are lucky, you actually look in the right year for the picture you are wanting to see because you don’t remember what happened when and no one really cares.

The family feels like their daughter is losing the ability to have self-expression and the student herself echoes this feeling.  In their yearbook, the senior portraits reflect the teen’s interests resulting in the guys who have been photographed in front of their Mustangs since 1970.  The racy photos are supposed to be artistic and reflect the student’s love for modeling.

I have so many thoughts about this.

1-  It’s a yearbook. This is my mantra for this post.  I wouldn’t say that my number one choice for self-expression would be a yearbook.  They just don’t matter and next year, all seniors will be replaced by the new and cooler seniors and it won’t matter if you took your picture with creatvity or with a cactus.  Again, no one will care.  You are about to go to college.  Express yourself there. Or better yet, live a life of self-expression and you won’t be deduced to pictures.

2- You/She may regret that picture in 10 years or even 5 months and it will forever be in print.  I’m so glad that I don’t have widely distributed pictures of myself in much of the tasteless garb I wore circa 1999.  No use in having a regret all for the sake of a yearbook picture.

3- If you can’t wear it to school, it’s common sense that you can’t wear it in the yearbook.  The end.

4- They feel that she/their daughter has a right to self-expression and I believe I have a right to not have my” son” see immodesty in, of all places, a yearbook.  Yes, I hear you people out there saying, “Well, your son will be looking at who knows what every where else!”  While that may be true and something typical of most teen boys, I, as a parent of this imaginary teenage boy we’re discussing, am still his make believe parent and I should be able to have solace in yearbooks, libraries, community centers, and anywhere else that I shouldn’t even have to worry about my son seeing anything even borderline racy.  Can anything not be invaded by sexuality in our culture? What’s the point?  It’s so unnecessary.  It’s a yearbook.

5- Furthermore, the school has a right to say what goes into their yearbooks since they are the authority and getting the ACLU involved is ridiculous.  If you can’t walk down the halls in it, you can’t be photographed in it.  No one is being robbed of anything here and if not having the yearbook picture you want strips you of something than there is a bigger issue there.

A good question for the family and one I’m sure they’ve been asked:  Would you allow her to wear it to school?  They very well may let her sport that outfit but if they wouldn’t, surely they can see that it’s no more appropriate to be photographed and have it cataloged for forever than it is to wear it to school.  In a way it’s worse because it’s like wearing it for forever and again, the teen may regret it later. Parents have to enforce foresight for their children sometimes.

Just put a normal picture in the yearbook.  Surely if she is in to modeling and photography that her creativity can easily reach beyond this.  Put a sarcastic senior quote by your normal picture to really stick it to them.

And if all else fails, remember……it’s a yearbook.

Link to an article about this story along with the second picture she submitted that was denied.  Click here. Wonder what the first one was?

 

 

 

 

We've Interuppted Your Life To Bring You This Important Message…

You interrupt my life, my dates, my sleep, my time with my husband.  You constantly buzz him to tell him that you just, “Watched the best movie” or “Ate the best chicken”.  I hate you Twitter.

Twitter is the most ridiculous of all of the social networking sites.  I despise that Lance gets a million texts a day from people that he rarely talks to all for them to say what they just did.  This process of sending messages sounds a little familiar…oh yeah, A TEXT MESSAGE!  Here’s an idea, if you want someone to know what you just did, send them a personal text.  What?  You wouldn’t send a text to someone to say that you “just watched Ghost Busters on TV and fell asleep”?  I think you are on to something with that line of thought.  Keep going with it.  If you wouldn’t send a text like that out of the blue to your friend , you probably shouldn’t send it out in mass quantities to groups of people. 

Some people follow people they don’t really even know.  Following celebrities, singers, people in the media of any type that you admire is basically like getting a first hand tabloid to your phone.  You wouldn’t pick up a magazine to see what “Britney Spears  did today but by golly if you can get a mass message, impersonal text that she just went to hot yoga then by golly you do it!

Why do I want to know what you are doing every five seconds?  If you want to update the world, then do facebook statuses.  It’d be twitter only better though because my facebook status isn’t going to ring to your phone during your dinner, all to tell you that I just went for a jog. 

Of all of the Internet things to do with your time, Twitter is the most pointless.  There are more noble things to do with your life than interrupt your time with your family and friends by receiving a  play by play of someone’s life.  Someone who 99 percent of the time you don’t even care to invest in  a real relationship with or someone who you don’t even really know.

And then there are the times when Lance gets Twitters from respectable, well known family men who have slammed busy schedules and the text says, “Getting to enjoy my family at PF Changs tonight”  The only thing I can think is, “You are busy all the time.  You don’t have much family time.  Heaven forbid you don’t take out your phone while you are with them and just BE with them!”  Surely you can sever your ties with your electronics at least momentarily!  I, in all sincerity, lose respect for people when they are busy, busy men and they text meaninglessness to people during their precious family time.

I realize you can get any social networking to your phone: myspace, facebook, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m against all of them when they’re something you have with you at all times that alerts you when there’s a new video you need to watch or an action you need to know I’ve just taken.  It’s hard enough to get away from your daily schedule and even harder still, from technology.  Thankfully though we can have it allure us, tempt us, and even send us a signal to our phones when a new piece of “juicy” information is waiting.

Someone out there is inevitably reading this blog and thinking, “She’s writing about technology being disruptive and pointless and she’s writing an Internet blog….hmmmmm.”  First of all, don’t make me beat you up.  Second, I blog when I don’t have the opportunity to be with my family.  Lance is mowing.  I am venting.  So no time is really lost.  Moreover, I like to think that I’m using my gifts and it’s something I do to enjoy myself and blow off steam.  I hope I blog honestly and encourage others in the process so that there is actually some bigger purpose.  I don’t like blogs that are extended Twitter messages detaling that, I went to the grocery and then I slept etc.  Some might say, “Well Twitter is my hobby and I enjoy it.”

The day my hobby becomes sending update sentences to people on their cell phones….

Just shoot me.

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