Monday, March 30, 2015

It All Works Out in the End

My oldest is now 36 years old. My pregnancy was a mixed blessing. The positive was that we were finally having the baby we had given up on having. The not so positive was that I was fired from a job I really wanted due to the pregnancy.
I was a teacher, and this was a new job at a new school based entirely on Adlerian Psychology. It was right up my alley. I was incredibly thrilled to be offered the position and equally devastated when I lost it. Adding salt to the wound was the fact that my husband, also a teacher, was able to keep his position at this school.
It was a very hard pregnancy with complications that could have resulted in my losing the baby. It was emotionally grueling because I was devastated to have lost my job and frustrated having my husband keep his.
It all worked out. There were some tough times for sure, but the joy that little guy brought to my life has been incredible. He lives several states away, and we talk or text all the time.
Motherhood isn't easy. Babies are demanding little beings. They turn our lives inside out and back again, but they are wonderful additions to our lives.


I Love You to the Moon

I am the proud mom of a boy, N, 30 years old and a girl, G, 27. I will be short and to the point. Motherhood is not easy; however, every joy of seeing my kids grow through infancy to toddler, to child, to teenager, to adult has outweighed every pain and hardship. It may sound sappy, but it comes from my heart and soul. The moment you hold that baby a bond will form that can not be broken. It is a connection so deep that it is unfathomable. I am always in awe of moms who stick by their child though the toughest of times; it is that bond, that inexplicable, deepest of bonds. Yes, this is frightening, especially for those looking ahead at being a parent on their own. But-you can do this. The rewards will fill you up and carry you through. I wish you all the best.

Carol Galletta

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Loves of My Life

I have been reading all of the posts, trying to decide how/what to post. I am not good at all in writing things down, but I will try.
In 1977, I found myself pregnant so married my high school boyfriend & then lots of stress as my husband was a drinker & not a nice one. But I had grown up in a very abusive home & thought it was normal, both mental & the hitting. (Tho about 20+ years later my mom stop to it with my father) On 9-11-77(Yes 9-11) S was born....I fell in love. We then moved to CO away from family (his brother & SIL lived in Boulder) because he got a job with the railroad. All I can say is WOW...working for the railroad...lots of drinking & drugs! Then 4-8-83 J was born, before he was born I worried a lot about how I could love a 2nd child as much as I did the first...Not a problem!  Now my husband had been in & out of treatment a couple of times but within a month or so was back to drinking & the abuse! Finally, I had enough of the black eyes & bruises--moved back to Missouri with two small children to start all over. I went back & forth a couple of times to try to work it out, he was my drug, and would return with bruises each time. By the time I was divorced I was once again (1986) pregnant with A.
 Three young children, it was rough. I didn't get a lot of help from my family (my mom did everything she could but she was also living in abusive home & would pay dearly when she did) but my former mother-in-law was awesome & I loved her dearly! At times I worked three jobs to support us and yes I did a lot of things I am ashamed of, a lot of mistakes. But we made it. In 1988 I met my now husband and as far as my kids are concerned he is their dad...yes their dad is around but is still a drinker. J is the only one that really has much to do with him, S has wrote him off pretty much. A does have to see him every week because of being a foster parent to her half-sister. Both of my boys are Veterans.....S & his wife have been married for 14 years and  have one daughter,  S, (13yr)...S does work all the time but has a problem with staying at a job for more than a couple of years....I am sure it has a lot to do with PTSD.
J has had major problems in the past with PTSD. He is currently working on getting his third divorce (she was really more at fault than him). He has one beautiful little girl who with be 6 years in April. He has been rated at the VA as 30% disable but they are trying to raise it to 60-70%.
Then there is A and her husband Bobby...I am so proud of them. Amber has a little girl, M, who will be 8 years old in March) Bobby treats & loves her like his own. They then have P, 3 years old & little Brooklyn that just turned 1year. And they are foster parents for 1 month old K.
There have been a lot of ups & downs but I wouldn't trade them for anything. My kids are my best friends, even though when they were little I wondered.
All of my children & grand kids are my life & love them dearly.

My Three Bundles of Joy

I was a teen-age mom and I was not married, when I found out, I was pregnant. Neither of those sit well when you are from a strict Irish Catholic family. After the shock wore off , the wedding was moved from May of 1979 to December of 1978. Was I scared? Damn right! Not of labor or all that goes with giving birth, I think, I thought that was going to be the easy part! I worried that I was not old enough, mature enough, or smart enough to really be a good Mom. It never occurred to me that I was still a kid myself.
On June 10th, 1979, 3 days after my due date of June 7th, and 4 days before my 20th birthday, B was born. I was head over heels in love with this tiny bundle of joy! The only negative, if you can consider it a negative, was that I being the oldest of four girls had zero knowledge of boys. That was a bit intimidating, to say the least! We bonded instantly. I would watch him for hours, this perfect little being. Housework became a thing of the past - who cared that the dishes didn’t get washed or the rugs didn’t get vacuumed? He sat on my lap and we “rode the motorcycle” we “flew the airplane” and I sang to him.
I found myself pregnant again - a short FOUR months after B was born. A family member - on my husband’s side - offered to pay, for me to terminate the pregnancy citing our lack of sufficient income to afford another mouth to feed. We vehemently declined that offer! We might not have been rich - but we had enough love to go around!
On June 23rd, 1980, J was born… One year and 13 days after B. I was 21 with two small babies. To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement! How was I going to manage a full time job - 2 babies, house work etc. You “go with the flow” as they say. I learned to survive and to just do what needed doing. J was not a sleeper, unlike his older brother. J was the fussy one and I was exhausted most of the time! My husband wasn’t much help. He worked, came home, expected dinner on the table and that was that!
Fast forward to 1986. N came into the world Nov. 2nd. My third bundle of joy! I was older and more “ready” for a baby at that point. Lessons learned along the way, with son’s number one and two.
I was divorced in 1989 - To say it was easy would be a lie! Never easy but always interesting! I had to move ahead - I had kids that needed a steady parent. Some days I was mom, kissing booboos - other days I was dad, playing catch or teaching bike riding! Other days I had to be both. But we made it, day after day. Laughter, and tears, were all part of most days.
That fear I had of being a young mother, it was real, I made mistakes - lots of them - especially with the older two - I was just so young. Today we share so many things. They love sports, camping, fishing and the outdoors. I taught them those things. I taught them independence, decency towards others and how to love unconditionally. Even though they are scattered all over the US - I know they would be here in a heartbeat if I needed them. They are no worse for the wear, because of my immaturity when they were little! Best I can tell anyway.
There have been many bumps along the way, when they hurt I hurt, and today’s hurts are far more than that scraped knee or bruised ego.
I would not trade one “MOM he hit me, MOM he’s looking at me, MOM I have a booboo, crocodile tears or the real tears for the world! Today I look at my three sons, each with their unique personalities. I am proud of what they have all become. I am proud of my influence in their lives. Collectively they have made me a better person.

Kathy Hatfield

A Mama Lion

I guess I always knew I wanted children and that never changed even when I met my husband who is 15 years older than l am. We talked about having children and he had said that he didn't want any more children. He had two from his first marriage and his divorce was so bad that he didn't think he ever wanted to get married again, let alone have more children. I told him that this was a deal breaker for me and when I was offered a job in Las Vegas I moved for 11 months.
This was very tough for me at 23 years old. I was leaving my family and a man I loved.
After many flights back to San Francisco, I decided to move back home.
We had many ups and downs for two years and then we decided to get married. He said that he would agree to one child.  His mother and father had 15 children who were raised in San Francisco.
My husband had talked to his mother before asking me to marry him and he said, " Mama I am not really sure that I want another child." And this was her reply "What are you worried about? She will raise your child and God provides a loaf of bread for every child born."
My oldest, D was born when I was 31 years old and 18 months later we had L.
My husband is a great Dad and loves all of his children and is so glad that he ended up with two more.
The minute a child is born, a mother looks into their eyes and at that moment, she knows that she will protect them and love them for the rest of her life.
A mother becomes the protector like a lion is with her cubs.
No one can break that bond.
I love my children to the moon and back.
A baby grows under your heart and they stay in your heart until you leave this earth.
Laura Tripoli Fabela 

Can I Have Some Glue for that Bond?

I am not a mushy, sentimental person and honestly had no maternal instincts what so ever. No yearning for babies, the only ache I felt in my ovaries was from menstrual cramps. I felt no connection to my child while I was pregnant, just the pain from the sciatic nerve he was sitting on. Good news is once the baby gets here they grow on you.

I don’t think there is a wrong or right, good or bad way to parent. We all do the best we can in the moment and things seem to work out. For most of my life I have tried to look at the positive vs the negative, what I had vs obsessing over what I didn’t. I now try to instill that in my son who turns 18 next month (woohoo).

I don’t like giving parenting advice because I know I am far from perfect. In spite of that my son has turned out to be an intelligent, outspoken and mature beyond his years (most of the time). So the moral of the story for me is not to obsess over the unknown and what you have no control over. Focus on simple things and let your baby know they can count on you for comfort, support and security. The rest will fall into place. Once that little human being comes into your life it will be hard to imagine your life without them.

Jennifer Manchester

Just Breathe...

When I married back in 1977, I made a deal with my husband, no children for at least five years, with a renewable five-year option. Neither of us were ready to commit to having children yet. I was the youngest of 9 children from a good Irish family, the oldest being 22 years my senior. I was possessed of 28 nieces and nephews and had seen enough babies, I believed, to last me a lifetime. I had buried both my parents the year before and I was 21 years old. But, life is funny like that and four years into my marriage, I delivered a baby girl, who at this point in my life is probably my best friend and strongest advocate. Two and half years later, I gave birth to my son, which if I knew it at the time I would have thought I had given birth to an alien.
I found myself walking home from work and noticing the babies in their carriages strolling along the sidewalks or in the park, I traversed along the way. Each week I seemed to notice more and more of them. In the beginning, I thought there must be a baby boom, but in reality, my subconscious mind was just opening up to the possibilities. A discussion followed with my husband, who felt we needed more time, he was building his photo studio and money was tight. But as I think it has previously been mentioned, in those days birth control pills were not as developed as they are today, and inevitably women needed to take a break from them. After ten years of birth control pills, it was my turn for a break and so I found myself pregnant.
Well while I had thought emotionally I was ready to take this on, once confronted with the reality, I was ready to turn tail and run as fast as I could. I was petrified; pure and simple. Discussions with my older sisters who were already mothers did little to alleviate my anxiety and fear. They were rather dismissive as if it were all just a piece of cake. The terror was still there lurking deep down, so now there was no one with whom to share this fear. 

Oddly, the fear did not keep me from talking with my unborn child, swearing I would protect her and keep her from harm. Taking care of all the foods I ate, staying physically fit to be ready for her arrival. I knew it was a girl and to those who knew me, I had a good idea of who she was already. They thought I was just being maternal, but that was not it at all, and they would never understand it anyway, so I never tried to explain. I needed to find a way to control this situation that seemed to me to be the ultimate surrender of my mind and body to the strangers who would assist at her birth. This did not sit well with me as I like to control my environment and who I share it with. The horror stories abound when you are pregnant. It becomes a veritable can you top this story from all those who have gone this route before you. They talk about 18 hour and 24 hour labors and more…it is absolutely disgusting the things they used to talk about in those days.
I spent a good deal of time talking myself down. Women have been doing this for centuries, how bad could it be? I would get through it just like them. This only goes so far though. Then I found the Lamaze Classes! Well, this was more like it, I thought. A reasonable approach with a full methodical outline of the stages of labor (not the broad definition of the 18 hours etc.); but a responsible outline that defines the stages the majority of it without pain and a short span you need to get through. That suited me just fine. I could manage 2 or 3 hours, I was sure. But, then you learn to do the different breathing techniques and you can go those few hours with some sense of control and the inevitable outcome is well within reach. I was convinced this couldn’t possibly work or else all those other women with their stories would have used this too. But, it was still early days for Lamaze and not everyone used it then. It was the only option available that gave me a glimmer of hope that I would get through this.
The morning arrived and I did all the things you are told to do but eventually you need to go check in at the hospital. Real panic set in then. My new mantra became there was no way through this but to endure. There were no options to choose, there was only through it. I avoided going for as long as I could and then there I was, all hooked up and lying in this bed with scratchy sheets and my husband working his job as my coach. A coach can be anyone you trust who works the breathing exercises with you. In hindsight, I would have just as soon as had my sister there. It would not have mattered, as long as they did their job. You become totally focused on birthing this baby, you no longer care who is around you or what you look like; none of it matters.
I’m here today to tell you that there are ways to get through birthing with some control and with minimal pain. Not saying there is no pain but you are so busy breathing your way through it; that becomes more important than the pain. It is endurable, it is not terribly scary, unusual for young women who have not spent a good deal of time in hospitals but certainly not the dreaded experience I had anticipated all those months.
And the arrival drives all that straight out the window; here is this miniature adult lying on your chest and you are just so outrageously high on life (such a bad rap that saying gets) because you have just produced this perfect little person. I, am not given to hyperbole when I say that there is not another event in your life as perfect as that moment, it is not an overstatement of fact. That child you have just welcomed from inside your being into your physical world is the most important accomplishment of your life and you are just head over heels in love with her or him. I think maybe that is even more crazy, you feel this way with your future children as well. The unbreakable bond of mother and child has formed and it can never be broken. Just remember, I convey all this as the woman who started out thinking children were a complete bore. And just so you know, I still think other people’s babies are a complete bore. In my reality, my children were and still are exempt from my policy statement thirty-three years later. I’m still waiting to see how this policy applies to grandchildren. It may require a rewrite.
Eileen Gagliano