A reaction on a theme: miscarriage, child-loss, still birth

Depending on the circles you travel in, you may have seen this blog post floating through your news feed on Facebook:

Untitled2 copy

I’m not going to lie – it’s taken me at LEAST a week to read all of this post. The first few times it appeared in my news feed I skipped it entirely, a couple more times I opened it and read a paragraph or two, but finally I’ve read most of it.

As a mother with three babies in Heaven, a son and a daughter who are both named and discussed in our family, and another baby we never new long enough to name but is still a child of ours. Let me tell you some of the things mentioned in this post that I heard outright some word for word, some a variation on the theme:

“An aborted baby could have been the next Einstein or Bach or Mother Theresa. A miscarried baby was probably damaged goods.”

“An aborted baby was killed against God’s design. A miscarried baby fulfilled God’s plans.”

“An aborted baby was a real person, and should have the rights as such. A miscarried baby was not a real child — naming them really is kinda weird. Speaking of weird . . . counting them in the line-up of your children? THAT’S weird!”

“An aborted baby should always be missed in this world. God had created them for a purpose, no matter what health issues they may have had. A miscarried baby was meant for heaven — and we moms should just be so thankful we have a baby in heaven, and should not grieve the loss of their place on earth. After all, they never TRULY had a place on earth, did they?”

“An aborted baby could never be replaced. A miscarried baby can always be replaced — “Oh, don’t worry, hon — your time will come again. You’ll have more. Just relax and trust God. You’ll see.”

“An aborted baby’s mom should know exactly what she’s missing out on if she has living children. A miscarried baby’s mom should not grieve that loss, but instead, should just be thankful for the lives of her living children.”

I’m not even joking friends. People, some close friends, some perfect strangers, have straight up said these things to me. Some of them while I was STILL IN THE HOSPITAL!

Chris and I have walked this path in a way that others tell us is very different.  We have chosen to celebrate our children while also mourning their loss.  We are open and transparent in our hurt, in our joy, in our journey.  None of that means that you get to

1) tell me that my child is less a person because they never took a breath

2) tell me that I shouldn’t name my child because they were delivered already in heaven

3) tell me that I don’t get to grieve the same way someone else does because their “real” kids have died and my baby never lived.

4) tell me that even though I can no longer have kids there is always adoption so there is still hope that we can continue to expand our family.

5) tell me that the lives of the children already in heaven are any less important than Inaras, that I should grieve them less or consider them lesser because they were delivered into the hands of The Father instead of their father.

6) you sure as shooting don’t get to tell me it was probably for the best, that there was probably something WRONG with my child!

Most importantly

under absolutely zero circumstance

will I EVER

EVER

allow you to take my loss

or the loss of any other parent

and turn it into a political action point.

It isn’t often that I comment on things like this, but let me just tell you.  Taking the photos of a persons angel and pointing out that this is what another woman is choosing to abort is wrong.  It is just plain WRONG – and I will call you on it.  I have held my babies, I have named my babies, I have loved my babies.  All my babies are my kids, and I know other parents who feel the same.

I will never ever wish for someone else to walk even a single step in my shoes, but there are times that I do wish people would stop, and look around before they open their mouths.  Sometimes I do wonder after a family experiences a loss if it makes them realize that things they may have said or done in the past were extraordinarily hurtful not helpful.  Sometimes I wonder if the people who have said these things to me will ever realize that they have only heaped coals on a fire of fierce pain.  That they have ripped off a scab that has taken YEARS to develop on a wound that will never be healed in this life.

I value this one woman, and her honesty, and bravery in calling people to the carpet.  I value that others are reading her words and taking them to heart.  I just wish more of the shares I see on Facebook were because they wanted to offer help and healing and not because they wanted to point out the flaws of society.  No one will ever ever understand the pain and hurt that happens when a life is lost until it is their own child, and as I said I won’t wish that on anyone ever.

However, I’m just saying, there’s a way to be a person…

Menu Plan Monday – Two Week Plan Part 2

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday – lets ignore that fact OK. Thanks

MPMcustom

I wanted to follow up last weeks post with a bit more info from our most recent (Friday) cooking session.

This was our finalized menu plan for the two weeks worth of prep:

Untitled1 copy

Classic Foil Packets

Balsamic Roasted Chicken Thighs

Texas 2 Step Soup

Crock Pot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

Macaroni and Beef

Chicken and Pasta in Pesto

Crock Pot Cashew Chicken

Fall Pork Chops

Black Beans and Brown Rice (V)

Tex-Mex Shepherds Pie (V)

Tacos (V)

Pizza

Fried Rice

Bolognese Sauce

So after shopping and everything, we gathered at Erin’s house ready to get started.

Groceries are unpacked

IMG_6505

Step one is always veggie prep – anything that needs cut, chopped, diced, sliced, or pre-cooked is added to a master list which is generated mostly from the shopping list and recipes:

IMG_6506

Once that is figured out, the prep list is placed in a common area and we both dig in with whoever needs to happen.

IMG_6507

IMG_6509 IMG_6510

Random tip: put the onions that need to be diced or minced in a vitamin with some water pulse a couple quick times and you’ve got your onions done!

IMG_6511

Once everything is prepped the recipes start getting put together assembly line style.  Unfortunately once this “real” work started my picture taking stopped.  Essentially most of our items get frozen in ziplock bags.  Anything that can be precooked is, anything that can be premixed is, casseroles that need to be layered get put together right in our casserole dishes and frozen that way so all we have to do is thaw and cook.  Our main goal is to do as MUCH as we POSSIBLY can on this one day so that when the time comes to actually feed our family almost everything is done.  We may have to cook some pasta, we may have to dump bags of ingredients into the crock-pot or rewarm things in the oven, but for the most part everything is ready to go.  We’ve even pre-cooked rice and frozen it for things like the fried rice and the black bean and brown rice dishes.

As we finish each dish – they are placed into their freezer dishes (gallon sized bags mostly) labeled with a family name so we know who’s is who’s and the dish then they go in the freezer until they are all divided up and I take mine home.

That’s really it.  It takes us all day (I think we cooked for 12 to 14 hours this week) but I’ll happily sacrifice one day twice a week in the company of a good friend to feed my family healthy home cooked meals with little to no effort the rest of those two weeks.

Be on the look out – in March my menu plans will feature plant based meals or meals that can be adjusted easily to be plant based.  With lent right around the corner, and my husbands cholesterol results in, it’s been decided that we will be removing animal products from our meals for the month of march and following a whole foods plant based diet like the E2 diet, Happy Herbivore, and a bit of the Daniel Fast.  Erin’s family (to my knowledge) will not be joining us on our meat free March so meals will still have the ability to include dairy, eggs, and meat as well for all my omnivore friends. :-)

Menu Plan Monday – a two week plan, and another Plan to Eat review.

MPMcustom

 

You may remember back in July, I shared that I had started to use the site Plan To Eat for my menu planning.
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

Well, I still am and I still love it.  Since October though something even cooler has been happening, and I’ve been meaning to post about it and obviously I still haven’t.

See, I have this awesome friend – Erin.  In september my awesome friend, and her awesome family moved into a new house after being in a state of unrest and unsettled for nearly a year as they sold their home, started building a new house, ended up backing out of the home they were building because of complications, and then found this house and moved in.  Their awesome new house has an amazing kitchen.  Anyone see where this is going?

no?

Well, since October we’ve been getting together every two weeks after pay day (both our husbands work for the same company, so they have the same pay schedule which is handy) and cook enough meals to feed our family for the following two weeks.  It’s been AWESOME.

Our family at least has cut back on spending, and going out to eat over all, and when we are finished each time Erin and I both feel accomplished!  This friday is cooking day, so with any luck I’ll remember to take some pictures and I can show you how we’ve been doing the cooking.  For now though I’m going to tell you how I’ve been planning meals for two weeks at a time.

It all starts on Plan To Eat.  I go through all my recipes and pick out approximately 14 that will become our dinners for the following weeks.  If Erin has anything she or her family are wanting either she sends me a recipe and I import it, or we do some googling to find a recipe that will work (or that we think will work) and import that.

planner copy

One of my favorite things about Plan To Eat, is that from the recipes you plan, it automatically creates a shopping list from the recipes!

list copy

So, I take that list and review what I have on hand in my pantry, and what I need to get – anything that needs to be purchased gets added to my master grocery list (I have a downloaded version of this list that I have edited over the years to reflect how and where I shop).

Master_Grocery_List3 copy

So, we do our own shopping, buy what we need, and then spend an entire day cooking while our four girls run around, play, and generally create the chaos kids are known for all over the house.

 

After we are done cooking, both our families hang out, spend the evening together, and then we all crash at their house.  When our food comes home with us the next day, I put it in our deep freezer.  Here’s my favorite part and it’s taken me a while to figure out.  Once I put everything in the freezer I have to keep track of what’s in there, and have the recipes handy for anything that needs liquid (broth, water) added before cooking since we don’t add those before freezing them.  This is what I’ve come up with:

IMG_6482

 

I added a place on my freezer where I write down whats in there (the black lines are in sharpie so they don’t come off, everything else is dry erase and comes off easily).  I hang the recipes with a magnetic clip right there next to the list for easy finding (I move and file them once the meals are cooked, so only meals that are in the freezer are hanging in that recipe group).  When I take a meal out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge (it takes about two days in our fridge to thaw them, so there are always two out at a time, one for the day of, and one for the next day) I put a little mark next to the list so I know what’s out to cook.

So, now you can see our menu plan for the week – tonight we are having Martini Beef-less Tips over Lemon Pepper Pearl Couscous, and tomorrow we are having Baked Ziti.

The best part of cooking together is that we both get to try things we may not have otherwise tired.  We are learning to adapt recipes for their omnivore family and our more leaning toward herbivore family so that everyone still gets their dietary preference, as well as we are figuring out how to adjust recipe sizes since I’m only feeding 2 adults and 1 child and Erin is feeding 2 adults and 3 kids.

My favorite part though is the camaraderie of another mom in the kitchen, our families spending time together, and the memories we are making.

 

Sharing this post at: mpm-1

Hard lemons

Sometimes it’s hard to chose joy.

Sometimes it’s hard to focus on the good.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the silver lining.

Sometimes it’s hard not to break down and cry.

Sometimes it’s hard to rejoice in any circumstance.

Sometimes it’s hard to make lemonade from life’s lemons.

Sometimes it’s hard not to grumble, and complain, and whine.

Sometimes it’s hard, just plain hard.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the balance.

Sometimes it’s hard because there is no balance.

Sometimes it’s hard to face down the giant because you can’t see God standing behind you.

Sometimes it’s hard to not throw your hands up and quit.

Sometimes it’s hard not to wallow.

Sometimes it’s hard to be vulnerable and transparent, because you feel like all you have to say is complaining about something.

Sometimes it’s harder to be open and honest because the good feels like bragging.

Sometimes it’s hard to rejoice in the little stuff when all you can see is the big stuff that stinks.

Sometimes it’s hard because you lose sight of the focus.

Sometimes it’s hard because thats exactly what you need, and where you need to be.

Sometimes it’s hard not to grab someone by the shoulder and shake them because you can see exactly what there problem is and why don’t they just fix it already.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the plank in your own eye because you’re focused on the speck of dust in someone else’s.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say, when to say it, or when to just keep quiet.

Sometimes it’s hard because it feels like your body is working against you.

Sometimes it’s hard because it feels like everything is against you.

Sometimes it’s hard because you feel like you’ve lost it all.

Sometimes it’s hard because you have.

Sometimes it’s hard because you just want to rest, but God’s not finished with you yet.

Sometimes it’s hard simply because it should be.

 

LIFE MANAGEMENT BINDER: PART 4

Confession  I started this post back in November, and never finished it.

HOWEVER, I think this covers the final pages of printables for our life management binder, at least for a while, or until I update the printables with 2014/2015 info.  In this post we have downloads for holiday lists (including a place to keep track of school holidays or inservice days), To-do lists, a weekly menu plan, and easy baby sitter info pages you can fill in and hang on the fridge before you leave your little one(s).

 

I am planning one more post to show you the final product, and have a Q&A if anyone’s got comments/questions/suggestions.  I do hope you’ve enjoyed this series (although it has taken six months for me to make four posts – at least I did it all right?) and here’s hopping it makes your life a bit more manageable in 2014
holidays copy

holidays customizable word docx

holidays pdf

todo copy

todo pdf

weekly menu copy

weekly menu pdf

BabysitterInformation copy

BabysitterInformation customizable word docx

BabysitterInformation pdf

Looking for other installments in the Home Management Binder series?  You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Holding Pattern

Have you ever been on an airplane, flying off toward your destination, thinking about whatever you are traveling for, possibly getting excited over being so close to seeing loved family and/or friends, or maybe a much anticipated vacation, when suddenly you realize you’ve circled over the same scenery twice?  Maybe the pilot comes over the speaker to say there is a delay in landing and air traffic control has placed you in a holding pattern.  This hasn’t actually happened to me, but I know people who it has.  I can only imagine how inner tensions start to get the better of you.  Is there a problem with the plane?  Did something happen at the airport?  Will you be diverted to another airport?  What if you can’t land?  How will this change your plans?

 

What’s going to happen next?

 

That’s how I feel right now.  I feel like God has me, has my family, in a holding pattern.  I wonder often if there is something I’m supposed to be learning, something we/I should be doing differently, is there a problem I don’t know about yet, why does it feel like we’ve been here before?

 

What’s going to happen next?

 

Where is God taking us now?

 

Are we in the eye of a hurricane, or have we really come out the other side of the storm – for now?  Is there more to come, or can we start rebuilding?

 

 

The weather is cooler here now, so I try and soak it up while I can.  I’ve been spending lots more time outside especially in the mornings and the evenings.  I’ve been letting the hens out to roam the yard scratching away for bugs and happily clucking away in the evenings.  Mornings are spent listening to the world wake up and the day get started with a big mug of hot tea while the dogs burn off some energy chasing each other.

It’s time spent like this that my heart is full of longing for a quieter life, fewer/no neighbors, more space, and a bit more simplicity.  A rural home surrounded on all sides with land not neighbors, less traffic, more garden.

 

I’ve had a familiar pang in my heart recently, a desire for more kids, for Inara to have siblings to play with, for a baby to snuggle, even sometimes for more noise and a bit more chaos.

I start to look online at foster, adopting, even surrogacy.  I ask questions, I research, I dream, I wonder.

 

I know that God knows the desires of my heart.  I know that He has a plan for me, for us.  I just wonder what it is.  Are these desires from Him or are they all mine.  Will a day come when these dreams are reality, or will they always stay a dream?  If these are things He wants for us, and He has planted these seeds, how much longer before movement is made toward those things?  When will He provide a clear way for us to achieve these things?

If these aren’t the things He wants for us, then what does He want?  Where is He taking us next?

 

Either way, I’m ready for the plane to land, or turn around and find another airport.