Thursday, June 23, 2016

When trying is tiring

You spend a good chunk of your life being scared out of your mind that if you look at a boy wrong YOU COULD GET PREGNANT.

Then you want to get pregnant and realize, it's not that easy. If you're under the age of 20 please do not read this blog. I would like you to still believe that it is crazy easy and then be petrified about that fact.

I realize for some couples, it IS a cinch. They decide, hey, let's have kids, then they go to bed, wake up and presto, new life is growing inside of them. (I *may* have skipped a step). Not for some of us older folks though.

And I know I shouldn't complain because in actuality we had it pretty easy. I've had one chemical pregnancy or possibly a false positive test (by the time I got the blood test my hCG levels were at 0). It was sad, disappointing, confusing, frustrating, and a bunch of other emotions. Still, I do not pretend to know what it's like to go through the pain of failed pregnancies and pregnancy attempts. Every month that passes feels like a long time, but I know people spend many, many months, even years and a lot of money and tears on the process. My thoughts are with each and every one of you.

That said, I still find it all stressful. So many questions circulating in my head:

1) Why are there so many things to pee on? Ovulation kits, pregnancy tests. Can I get an amen from the women who wish they could swab their tongue and be on their way instead of peeing on a stick?

2) How many apps does one person need? I have downloaded several. I don't know why I now consider it normal to write down every time we do the deed, but mark it down I do. I am a tracking machine. There is a science to it, dang nabbit, and I will figure it out and ace this test.

3) When can I test? Or should I wait. wait. wait. some more. I think pregnancy test companies should have to stop trying to compete in terms of when you could get a positive. 3 days before a missed period. 6 days. I can't keep track. And it just makes me feel compelled to pee on more sticks. I have marked my territory on far too many things.

4) Why is there soooo much information online? Here's the thing. I am a news reporter. I believe knowledge is power. But at some point I feel like we may have gotten a little too accustomed to knowing everything now. I have googled about two dozen odd observations about my health followed by "early pregnancy symptom" over the years. And guess what, I can inevitably find someone who experienced that same thing and got pregnant. This does not help me and just cuts into my sleep time.

5) Do guys realize what we do? I should probably be honest with myself and recognize that most women probably aren't as crazy as I am either. But I am certain men aren't this wound up over the topic.

Good thing I have a husband who embraces my crazy and is not turned off by it. Because...well...turning him off probably wouldn't help the process very much.

(NOTE: I obviously wrote this before becoming pregnant with our second child!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Two different men. One cherished title. Dad.

Would he have liked me?

It's a question my husband has asked me about my dad. The two never got a chance to meet each other. My dad died about six years before I met my husband.

I remember when he first asked the question I paused. I wanted to immediately give him the reassuring yes he sought even if outwardly he acted like he didn't care that much. But it was tough because, you see, I did not "marry my father." I married a man who is very different.

My dad was a contemplative, cynical, dry-sense-of-humor guy. He seemed to add syllables to words just so they were drawn out longer for him to think through his every thought before they were shared with others. Perhaps he was also conjuring up a rebuttal in case someone delivered one. The man liked to debate.

My husband, on the other hand, wears his heart on his sleeve most of the time. He's definitely an intelligent thinker, but he's more of a doer. He's the man who says what he thinks and feels sometimes before he's thought through the consequences. He often questions my need to question everything.

You see I'm not the girl who married the man like her father because I am a lot like my father.

Years ago I may have pondered my husband's question. Don't get me wrong, my dad would have liked my husband, there's not much not to like. But I wanted to give a deeper answer. Would he have enjoyed spending time with him? Would they have been friends?

But as time passes I realize I can never fully answer those questions because we'll never really know what their relationship would have been like.

I can say this though. My dad would have loved my husband in the most unconditional way. And here's why I know that. He would have seen how much my husband loves me. And he would have seen how much my husband adores his son, my father's grandchild. How much our son believes his daddy is the center of the universe. And these two men who valued their titles as father above any other roles in their life would have had the utmost love and respect for each other.

Happy Father's Day to all men who are proud to be called: Dad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dear son, if you rape someone I will not make excuses for you

Something flips when you become a mom. Or at least it did for me. As much as I think it's important to always maintain an independent identity, it is now impossible to not see myself as someone's mom. It changes how I view things, how I think about things, how I behave.

I cannot imagine a scenario where I do not love my child. This feeling in my brain, heart and soul is unconditional. I can, however, imagine situations where I do not defend his actions.

As much as I am a mom. I am a human being. I am a woman. And I am proud of that.

The case of the former Stanford swimmer who raped a woman makes me physically ill. It is indefensible. The family of the rapist seems to think it's more an issue of sexual promiscuity or binge drinking. I knew a lot of people who slept around in college. I knew a lot of people who drank too much in college. Heck, some of them were total jerks too. They weren't rapists. That is something different. You can address issues of sex on campus or alcohol on campus if you think those are problems, but do not think they are the reason this happened. Again, plenty of people get drunk or sleep with people they barely know. It takes a different kind of person to rape someone. It takes a criminal.

(If you would like to read more about the case here is a recent report by CBS News with links to previous reports.)

I've always been the type of person who tries to put myself in the position of a victim in a given situation. I wonder what they felt, how a moment changed their life. I've thought numerous times about what it might be like to be a victim of sexual assault. I hurt for those people who have had themselves violated in a way that makes them uncomfortable in their own body.

This, however, was the first time I ever put myself in the position of the other side.

I read the letter the rapist's father wrote. It made me angry. And then I thought about myself. I can sit here and say I will show my son the world and open his eyes to the difficulties others face, but the truth is, he likely will grow up with some sort of white, middle-class privilege. I know I will do everything I can to teach my son that women are to be respected, that he has no right to harm another person in any way, that there are consequences to our actions. I will teach him right from wrong. I would like to say there is no way my son could become a bad guy and certainly no way he could become a criminal. I hope I'm right.

Let's say I'm not. Let's say my son does the unthinkable. I vow to not make excuses. I vow to value myself as a woman and forever defend all women who are victims of all kinds of abuse. We are in this together. Men, we need you too. I will always love my child, but I do not think he deserves a world that serves him and harms others. I will not make excuses if he does the inexcusable. Because maybe that's the first step in making sure I don't raise a person who believes he is above the law, a person who does not feel empathy toward others, a person who can rape.