Making a difference

While on our adventure over the weekend I was driving while Kaanas slept at one point and he woke up to me sobbing.  One of the songs on the radio I was listening to had gotten me thinking about child hunger, and I started imagining what it would be like to not have food to give Mingli, to have to listen to him crying every day because he was hungry, and possibly even watch him starve to death.  I realized that is what some mothers are living with, and I decided that I need to do something.  I have always donated little things here and there, a couple of dollars to whatever charity the store I am shopping at is raising money for, a toy in the box at Christmas.  I don’t like to pass by a charity without giving something, but I have never sought out a charity and really tried to make a difference.

My first thought was that I wanted to donate a little bit each month to a different charity, even if it was just $10, so I started looking up charities.  The thing I was drawn to, though, was not something little.  The thing I was drawn to was donating an entire herd of animals to a community who needs it.  The only problem was that it cost $5,000 and there was no way Kaanas and I could afford that.  I started looking at other stuff, but kept going back to the herd of animals.  Then I realized, I don’t have to actually pay for it myself.  I decided that I am going to raise the money for it, even if it takes me months.  I spent some time looking up fundraising ideas and found a whole list.  Right now I am starting with wrapping gifts.  I have advertised in my church that I am wrapping Christmas presents for whatever donation people feel like making.  I have other ideas to do after the Christmas season as well.  I am really excited about this.

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Grieving the loss of more kids

I have always wanted a large family.  It has been my dream for as long as I can remember.  After Mingli’s pregnancy Kaanas and I decided that we wouldn’t have as big of a family as we had been planning, but we were still planning on having a few kids.  Now, after what happened with Iella’s pregnancy, we don’t think even that is possible.  I honestly don’t know if I can make it through another.  Every time I think about getting pregnant again all I can think about is the fact that if I am not strong enough to make it through I will miss Mingli and Iella’s lives.  There were moments during Iella’s pregnancy where I was truly afraid I wasn’t going to be there for Mingli’s 3rd birthday, that I wouldn’t get to see him in his dinosaur costume, or get to help pick out his Christmas presents.  I want to see my children grow up, and I want to grow old with Kaanas.  But at the same time I am mourning the fact that I will never have another newborn.  Iella is already a month old.  I will never do this again and it makes me so sad.  I keep going back and forth between crying over not having anymore kids, to crying because I am so scared of being pregnant again.  I know it will take time to process all of this and learn to be ok with it.  I am trying to remind myself that it is ok to be sad.  Eventually I will be ok again.  There is so much I am trying to process and work through because of this pregnancy, this is just one of those things.

How my mom feels

At Mingli’s doctor’s appointment he got a couple of his vaccines.  After dinner recently this came up because Mingli wasn’t feeling well and my mom mentioned that it might be because of his shots.  My family is mostly pretty anti-vaccine, and some of them didn’t even know I was getting Mingli vaccinated, so instead of this being just a little comment it turned into a whole discussion about vaccines.  It was mentioned that President Roosevelt was in a wheelchair because of polio, and my mom said that yes, he was in a wheelchair, but he didn’t have autism (she firmly believes that vaccines cause autism).  Her tone sounded like she thought being in a wheelchair was preferable to having autism.  This was really hurtful to me, because she knows I have been diagnosed with autism, and even more so because she knows that we suspect Mingli has autism.  It felt like she was saying that she would prefer I was paralyzed than be the way I am.  It felt like she was saying that having autism was this awful thing.  I know many people feel this way, but to me autism is just part of who I am.  I have worked hard not to feel broken because of the things that are difficult for me, and it was hard to hear that my mom might still see me as broken.  More than anything I do not want her, or anyone, saying that kind of thing around Mingli.  If he gets diagnosed I never want him to feel broken.  I want to help teach him coping skills, but I want to teach him that his brain is just wired differently, but that is the way God made him, and God made him that way for a reason.  I just feel sad that my mom feels this way, and I don’t know what to do about it.

Independence

I have been thinking a lot about what we expect of babies.  I have heard a lot of advice about what I should be doing with Mingli and now Iella, and some of the advice is things I should be doing so my babies can be independent.  I do not believe in letting my baby cry, I co-sleep, and I do other things that I have been told will lead Mingli and Iella to being too dependent on me.  This has made me doubt my parenting style.  Recently, however, I have realized something.  Babies are supposed to be dependent on their caregivers.  They cannot feed themselves, they cannot do anything if they are cold, hot, wet, or hurt.  They need us.  Why do we expect independence from babies who cannot even hold their own heads up yet?  I’ve decided that infancy is a time of attachment, where I will be with my babies and make sure they knows I love them and that they can trust this world.  Toddlerhood is a time of growing independence.  Mingli has entered this phase and I have begun teaching him how to sleep by himself, make his own food, dress himself, and start developing the skills he needs to be truly independent.  My kids will learn these skills only after they has learned that I will always be there for them, that I love them, and that if ever they needs help I will always come.

Being a mother of 2

It has been so strange becoming the mother of 2.  I thought I had prepared myself for it, and I had in every way that I could.  I was prepared for trying to juggle the needs of 2 children.  I had thought out practical ways of handling things like bedtime, meals, and other times that I thought both kids might need me.  I am living with my parents so I knew I would have help when I needed it.  What I wasn’t prepared for was the way my heart would feel.  I wasn’t prepared for how torn I would feel.  All I want to do is hold Iella, love on her, soak in every minute of her being a newborn.  All I want to do is play with Mingli, do school with him, take him outside, make him laugh.  Each of my kids has my whole heart, all of my love, but they can’t each have all of my time.  This is the part of having another child that I didn’t expect, and it is the hardest part.  I guess all I can do is make sure to spend individual time with each of them every day and try and let go of the regret I feel over not being able to give them each more.

Mingli’s baby

Since we have a new baby coming Kaanas and I have been talking about getting Mingli a baby doll.  It has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately because both of us believe more in traditional male and female roles.  We don’t believe that the husband should be able to control the wife, Kaanas and I are a team and make decisions together and we both have an equal say in everything, but we also believe that men and women are different, that those differences are good, and that we shouldn’t try to ignore or suppress those differences (I am not looking for an argument on this, just explaining what we believe relevant to what is going on.  I know people have different opinions about this.  I respect other people’s right to believe and live differently than I do, please do the same for me).  Our difference of opinion was in whether we should get Mingli a doll.  Kaanas didn’t want to because dolls are traditionally girl toys.  I wanted to because I believe that being a dad is a divine role, and that little boys should be encouraged to want to become a dad just as much as little girls should be encouraged to want to become a mom.  I also really want to teach Mingli about being gentle with babies, which is why the topic of a baby doll came up right now, and he loves babies, so I thought he would like a doll.  After many discussions and us each explaining how we felt, we decided to go ahead and get him a doll.  We went to Walmart, and I was a little disappointed because they didn’t have any little boy dolls, but I guess those just aren’t as popular (I saw some online and was hoping to find something similar in the store).  We ended up just getting him a girl doll, and honestly he really doesn’t know the difference.  He really loves it.  It came with a bottle, sippy cup, pacifier, and stuffed animal and he loves taking care of it and giving it hugs.  It was so sweet when I first gave it to him watching him give the baby the bottle, although apparently the sippy cup is for him.

Here he is giving his baby a hug.

The other baby

At the wedding reception on Saturday I finally met my cousin’s new baby.  Honestly, I have been avoiding this ever since she was born because I knew it would be difficult for me.  I also avoided my cousin while she was pregnant if I could help it.  I have been around other pregnant women and newborn babies since my miscarriage, but this was different.  My cousin was due just 3 days before I was supposed to have been due.  She also had a little girl, which is what I always think of my baby as.  Every time I heard about her pregnancy milestones (ultrasounds, feeling the baby kick, etc.) I would just think, “If I was still pregnant I’d be in the same stage.”  Now it is the same with her baby.  I see things on facebook about her, and I think, “River (the name I gave my baby) would be at the same stage.”  Most of the time now I am doing fine.  I am able to focus on what I gained from my short pregnancy instead of what I lost when it ended, but when I see or hear about my cousin’s baby all I can think about is what I lost.  I feel drawn to this baby, I want to take her in my arms, hold her, kiss her, love her, because she is the same age as my River would have been, but she is not my River, and because of that I can’t bring myself to hold her or be near her.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am extremely happy for my cousin.  They had difficulty getting pregnant, trying for years before they finally had this baby.  I don’t resent them or their baby, but being around them hurts.  Saturday night I cried over my miscarriage for the first time in a long time.

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