Friday, February 15, 2013

Quick Takes: Meatless Edition

1.  Usually, this quick take would be dedicated to my annual statement, "No way, Lent already?"  However, today it's "No way, the Pope has resigned?"  Seeing  my news feed explode early Monday morning was a lot of fun.  I look forward to following the conclave, especially with the new additions of social media.  Some of the many wonderful blog posts about the matter include this article about an African Pope, Fr. Robert Barron's TV interview, and another article addressing that pesky St. Malachy prophecy.

2.  Quite a few people (including my OB/GYN) asked if I was upset about B16's decision.  Like many other Catholics, I was quite shocked, but understand.  When I saw him in person during my honeymoon in 2006, the pope already looked a bit tired.  His job has become so much more complicated in this age of the 24-hour news cycle, the fast flow of information, the ease of world travel, not to mention the secular issues the Church faces.  It's quite a lot for one person, let alone an 85-year-old man, to handle.  I trust he made his decision after lots of thought and prayer.  Besides, our president has gray hair after only 4 years in office, and he got the job at a much young age than B16.

3. I tried the MOPS group for the second time today.  The "mentor mom" gave a neat talk about keeping marriages strong. I really admire other Christian denominations for their zeal and fervor.  Still working on meeting other moms (it's a bit cliquey), but we'll see.

4.  In my area of the USA, the weather has changed about as quickly as fashion trends.  One day we need parkas, the next day, KB and I skip merrily in sweatshirts and jeans.  Then the next day, some snow arrives.  This is the fastest way to bring on Spring Fever!

5.  We had a very low-key Valentine's Day.  We always avoid the restaurants (even in the pre-children era), choosing instead to dine on Jimmy.John's.  And my sweet husband has become quite adept at picking GOOD chocolate, as in the kind without fruity fillings.

6.  Baby Boy is now at 29 weeks. He's kicking quite a bit these days, which makes me wonder if he will become a soccer player or boxer.  Thankfully, I still have the OK from my doctor to keep Irish dancing.  Perhaps he may learn a few moves!  This pregnancy has gone by much quicker than KB's, but it's been far more difficult than hers too.  Another chance to pray for the IF ladies.

Have a fabulous weekend!!  And since it's Friday and I'm craving meat.....

Friday, February 8, 2013

Finding Support

Another Friday, and another lack of Quick Takes.

Before I attempt to put pen to ink, or fingers to keyboard, please keep the following caveats in mind while reading this post: 1. I am immensely grateful for the gift of my little girl, baby boy, and Rachel (in heaven). My infertility journey has never left my mind. 2. My husband and I made the decision together to have me stay home with the kids. It is a hard job, but one we think is best for our particular family.

The reason for these caveats is because my post could come across as ungrateful and complaining. Rather, I hope to illustrate a gaping need in this point in my life as a newbie mom: the need for support.

Support groups (formal or informal) exist for a reason: some of the best support one can receive comes from others in the same situation or ordeal. This holds true for groups for cancer patients/survivors, AA, Celiac Diseas and the like. Teachers (or those married to one) best understand other teachers.  Youth ministers best understand fellow youth ministers.

Back in the early days of Infertility, I found it quite isolating. The advice and consolation of people who had endured it helped me tremendously. As more friends and acquaintances became aware of the situation, they became more empathetic. But there was always something extra special talking with someone who had traversed the same waters. My mom could still recall her feelings from going through IF 35+ years ago and knew very well of my hardship. Several other women from various circles (church, school, etc.) began to offer support and advice too. I started my blog and met other IF bloggers at various stages in their journey. And one of THE best resources, the SHE infertility group, took shape and form.

Then 2010 came, and life changed dramatically with the arrival of my baby girl. While a new baby isn’t a walk in the park, for the most part KB’s first year was pretty smooth. The baby carrier made going places easier, and there was no chasing involved in our errands. We were able to do more activities outside the home. She would sit through Mass contentedly.

A couple years later, the toddler years have really thrown me off the wagon. My experience with this age group is very lacking; I skillfully avoided babysitting kids under the age of 5 while in high school and never taught students younger than 3rd grade. I was 4 years old when my little sister was born and don’t remember much. So my only experience has been KB. (Lucky her, ha ha ha!)

But what’s beginning to happen is that life has REALLY changed. A typical day’s schedule is more rigid; nap times have become sacred. In addition, parenting has really started. Tantrums. Drama. Yadda Yadda.

I know a few moms of toddlers, but most of them work outside of the home. Quite a few other friends have cute babies that haven’t reached the same stage yet. I have been attending an excellent Bible Study at our local cathedral; but that has seen a huge decline in young women’s attendance. Most of the ladies in my small group are retired or have a daughter my age.

The lack of a supportive group of moms in the same stage has left a gaping hole.  The days of staying at home with a toddler can be challenging, as All You Who Hope can attest in her most recent blog post (and she has 2 toddlers, 1 newborn!).

So, a new mission has begun: it’s time to find some toddler moms for support and companionship. Perhaps 50 years ago this would have come in the form of a neighborhood full of kids, where the moms would help each other and offer the newbies advice. Or if we attended another Christian denomination, there would be a mom’s group. Sadly, most Catholic parishes tend to focus activities on school age children. My parish doesn’t have much that would help a mom, and if I suggested it to my pastor, he would tell me to start my own group (can’t blame him, but the timing is rather bad).

From what I can tell so far, the solution will be to find the right group. My spiritual director advised me to take these last couple months before Baby Boy arrives to research existing groups. Our local Cathedral has a moms’ group that also offers childcare. I've also checked out a Christian MOPS group. And there may be a few that surprise me.

This need has become so critical that I’m officially pulling back from just about every activity except for Irish Dancing and a couple other things. While a group may not solve everything, it will provide some relief when toddler tantrums leave me guessing. The first time a fellow IF survivor told me that she avoided baby showers during her journey, I felt so relieved. The IF support group provided a way for women to walk through a difficult period of life and come out as friends. I hope for the same camaraderie in this new stage of my life.

Time to grab some binoculars!