Born: December 11th, 2012 at 11:36pm. Birth story to follow, but in the mean time enjoy this video that the Hubs made of us growing together from week 18 until his birth:
Born: December 11th, 2012 at 11:36pm. Birth story to follow, but in the mean time enjoy this video that the Hubs made of us growing together from week 18 until his birth:
I thought this quote from the Bahá’í writings was very timely and fitting in light of the recent events in Newtown, Connecticut.
“O thou beloved maidservant of God, although the loss of a son is indeed heart-breaking and beyond the limits of human endurance, yet one who knoweth and understandeth is assured that the son hath not been lost but, rather, hath stepped from this world into another, and she will find him in the divine realm. That reunion shall be for eternity, while in this world separation is inevitable and bringeth with it a burning grief.
Praise be unto God that thou hast faith, art turning thy face toward the everlasting Kingdom and believest in the existence of a heavenly world. Therefore be thou not disconsolate, do not languish, do not sigh, neither wail nor weep; for agitation and mourning deeply affect his soul in the divine realm.
That beloved child addresseth thee from the hidden world: ‘O thou kind Mother, thank divine Providence that I have been freed from a small and gloomy cage and, like the birds of the meadows, have soared to the divine world—a world which is spacious, illumined, and ever gay and jubilant. Therefore, lament not, O Mother, and be not grieved; I am not of the lost, nor have I been obliterated and destroyed. I have shaken off the mortal form and have raised my banner in this spiritual world. Following this separation is everlasting companionship. Thou shalt find me in the heaven of the Lord, immersed in an ocean of light.”
Bahá’í World Centre, 1982 lightweight edition, pg 320
My husband Raf sent me THIS article this morning. In light of the fact that we are about to become parents we have been having a lot of discussion about how best to help our son and any future children navigate this society that is constantly bombarding us with sexist stereotypes. If only more people were like this 13 year old girl, the world would be a far better place. Way to go McKenna!
I’m so lucky to have an amazing husband that advocates for gender equality and is constantly speaking out for women’s rights. He often challenges his male friends and co-workers to actively think about and process the messages that society sends regarding gender roles and stereotypes. I couldn’t be more proud to be married to this man.
So read this.
Cloth diapers that is. I don’t exactly remember when I first started thinking about using cloth diapers, but I think it was while I was living and working in Israel. A good friend of mine was expecting her first child and I did a lot of research to help her navigate all the information out there. While doing all that researching I came across cloth diapers and how they were better for your baby, the environment and your wallet. I was sold. Even though it would be close to 4 years later that I would be expecting my first child, I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers.
So why cloth? Here are my reasons:
1. They are better for your baby. Babies who are kept in cloth diapers generally get changed more often because they can feel when they are wet sooner, which results in fewer diaper rashes. *However it should be noted that if you don’t change your child’s diaper soon after they have wet or soiled it, the “ increased skin wetness, may lead to increased friction and increased abrasion damage, skin permeability, and microbial growth.” This is a fairly old study, and there have been many advances in cloth diapers since then, such as the use of fabrics like micro-fleece that wick the moisture away from the skin, leaving your baby feeling dry. Personally, I would prefer to change my baby’s diaper promptly anyway, because who wants to hang out in their own waste? *
2. Children who are cloth diapered generally potty train at a younger age because they learn what it feels like to be wet.
3. It is better for the environment, although only slightly. Disposable diapers are estimated to take 250-500 years to decompose and represent 4% of all solid waste. In fact disposables are the third largest single consumer item in landfills. Even though this is really gross, when you look at the issue from a Life Course Perspective, the cumulative water requirements, waste water particulates and environmental emissions associated with laundering cloth diapers at home outweighs those associated with using disposable diapers. While, the cumulative solid waste volume of disposables is far greater than that of cloth. However when you factor in the energy value of converting raw cotton and trees into these products, disposables and cloth diapers (that are laundered at home) have about the same impact, while cloth diapers that are laundered using a diaper service come out a little bit ahead. Check out THIS article for all the specifics, the cloth vs. disposables portion begins on page 11. Now, many people argue that there are many ways to wash cloth diapers that don’t have such a negative environmental impact, this includes using energy-efficient machines, line drying and using the correct water temperature as opposed to very hot water. So this point could be up for debate. *I will say however, that whether you choose to use cloth or disposable diapers the only proper disposal of poop is in the toilet. Most people who use disposable diapers don’t take the time to dump the poop in the toilet before throwing the diaper out and this has HUGELY negative public health consequences. Human feces are about as foul and bacteria riddled as anything comes and when you throw it in the trash it can get into the soil and water and then you have e. coli contamination or cholera outbreaks. Something to think about. HERE’S a statement by the APHA on the topic.*
4. It is easier on your wallet. When using disposable diapers you will spend roughly $1500-$2500 from birth to potty training PER child. With cloth there are so many options that you could spend anywhere from $200 for a basic stash to around $800 on a large and fancy stash and that stash will generally last you through multiple children AND you can even sell them and recoup some of the cost once you’re done using them. That’s a HUGE savings for something that your child is just pooping and peeing in anyway.
So there you have my reasons for going cloth. I know a lot of parents out there also site the cuteness factor as a reason that they love using cloth diapers, but I can’t really speak to that yet. I’ll definitely let you know more once my child is actually born.
Stay tuned to learn all about my cloth diaper stash!
When you get pregnant your due date is calculated roughly 40 weeks from the first day of your last period. 40 weeks. I once heard a guest lecturer in one of my graduate classes say that most people believed that pregnancy was 9 months long, when in fact it was 10 months long and she backed this up by saying that 40 weeks, with 4 weeks in each month added up to 10 months. At the time my mind was totally blown, but then I started thinking about it and I realized something that should have been blatantly obvious all along: Most months are longer than 4 weeks. There are exactly 4 weeks in the month of February (when it isn’t a leap year) but that’s the only month where that rule applies, for the rest of the months, that leaves 2 or 3 days unaccounted for, which over the course of a pregnancy can really add up.
So what am I getting at? Well, if you want to wait until you’re 3 months pregnant to announce your pregnancy and you announce it when you’re 12 weeks pregnant, then you are announcing just over a week early. During my first pregnancy I was one of those people. I announced I was pregnant at 12 weeks exactly only to find out at 13 weeks that I had miscarried. Had I waiting until I was actually 3 months pregnant I would have known about the miscarriage before making the announcement and I would have been able to avoid a lot of questions and explanations that I didn’t want to deal with at the time.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear women say that they are 5 months pregnant when they go for their 20 week ultrasound, or 7 months pregnant when they are 28 weeks along. This just is not correct. It’s like when someone says: “for all intense and purposes” rather than “for all intents and purposes.” More than anything I just want to educate people about what’s accurate and correct.
My 40 week mark is December 5th. I was exactly 9 months pregnant as of December 1st, which means that by my 40 week mark I will be 9 months and 4 days pregnant…nowhere NEAR 10 months. Just saying.
*As a side note, I think it’s worth mentioning that the average pregnancy actually lasts 41 1/7 weeks, which is why even though my due date is December 5th, I tell everyone I have until December 19th in the hopes that this will help quell all the calls and messages I have been getting from people who are lovingly over eager for the baby to arrive.*
I just finished working on the Could Mobile for the Little One’s nursery. I got my inspiration from here. It was a fairly easy project and I absolutely love the way it turned out. I think it’s so whimsical. (Sorry for the sun glare spot in the photograph).
I didn’t document the process like I should have, so I’ll do my best to describe it to you here so that you may be inspired to do something similar yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Cheap embroidery hoop
Fish line or illusion cord (I used .30mm clear)
Needle & thread
So the first thing I did was pry the little screw and metal thing off the embroidery hoop, you don’t have to do this, but I wanted a smooth circle. The hoop I used only had one ring of wood meaning it didn’t have an inner ring of wood, I paid under $2 for it.
After prying the metal screw thing off, I used the duct tape to secure the two sides together. I then wrapped the hoop tightly in yellow yarn.
Next I drew one cloud on a piece of felt and then cut that out, I then used this as a template to cut out the rest of the could shapes, you’ll need to cut out two clouds for each cloud you intend to make, as you can see, I made 3 white clouds and 1 grey cloud. If you prefer to have clouds that are different shapes, you could always do that too. After the clouds were done I drew a rain drop on some colored felt and then cut that out and used this as a template for the rest of the rain drops just like I did with the clouds. The colors in our nursery are orange and turquoise which is why I chose the 4 colors that I did.
I then sewed and stuffed the clouds and rain drops. To do this I used a needle and regular thread and I stuffed them with cotton balls, but I’m sure that polyester toy fill would have worked better, I just didn’t want to buy a MASSIVE bag of it so I went with cotton balls.
After all my clouds and rain drops were sewn and stuffed I used the illusion cord and a needle to string them to the hoop. I then went around and put drops of super glue on all the places where I tied off and cut the cord just to make sure that it wouldn’t come loose.
BAM! Cloud Mobile for $20.
I decided to wait to post this until after Thanksgiving as to not make anyone feeling guilty for indulging in the holiday. I am a patient of Wisdom Midwifery and I think they are absolutely great! Here’s a link to their blog as well. When it comes to normal, low risk pregnancies, birth outcomes are often better when they are attended by Midwives as opposed to Obs, but more on that later.
Right now I am here to talk about nutrition in pregnancy, which is something I get asked about quite often. Since Wisdom Midwifery has complied a list that I think it pretty on the money, I have included their guidelines below. I will add the caveat however that I believe it’s ok to stray from these guidelines in moderation from time to time. Nine months is a LONG time to go without having ANY refined sugar, white food or junk food. If you’re one of those people who are able to do it then more power to you, but I found that I just didn’t have the will power to follow the guidelines to the letter and in fact attempting to do so stressed me out and gave me a lot of anxiety because I was constantly worrying about what I was eating. In any case, I digress.
The most important thing is that you are consuming the right amount of nutrients for you and your baby and the food listed bellow will definitely get you there. For many women their appetites change during pregnancy and as the pregnancy progresses they aren’t able to eat as much in one sitting as they were before (due to their stomach being squished). Due to this, it is important that the foods you choose to put in your stomach (for the most part) have as many good healthy nutrients as possible.
Wisdom Midwifery Nutritional Guidelines
Every day, consume the following:
10-12 glasses of fresh water
Fruits and veggies: 6-8 servings per day including two leafy greens, one yellow one and one orange one
Whole grains: 3-4 servings
Calcium rich foods – dairy or soy products : 2-4 servings per day
Protein foods: eggs, meat, fish, chicken, beans: 2-4 servings per day
Flax seeds 1-2 Tbs ground
Eliminate from your diet, to the best of your ability:
All refined sugar
All white foods: white bread, rice, flour, sugar, potatoes
No more than one glass of fruit juice, preferably orange, per day
Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil
Caffeine: No more than 1 cup per day
These dietary guidelines are designed to do three very important things:
(1) Keep your blood sugar at an even level throughout the day.
(2) Expand your blood volume properly so that you can circulate for both yourself and the baby. Not accomplishing these things can make you feel poorly during pregnancy and can lead to serious complications.
(3) Grow a baby that is appropriately sized for your body and pelvis: consuming the processed and fast foods so readily available to us may promote the growth of a baby that is larger than your body can deliver.
In addition to these guidelines, I also add that it’s a good idea to avoid: raw or under cooked meat, raw or under cooked eggs, unpasteurized cheeses or dairy, processed meat (unless they have been heated to steaming, these include: deli meat, bacon, etc.) and fish that is high in mercury.
As always you should talk to your care provider about what you should and shouldn’t be eating while pregnant.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and eat lots of delicious food. Raf and I will be spending the holiday with my Aunt and Uncle in Baltimore, and I can’t wait to stuff my face! Raf’s mom makes a cheesy potato casserole that Raf absolutely loves and it was his only menu item request this year…as it has been every year. So I’d thought I’d share the recipe with you.
Cheesy Potato Casserole Recipe
1.5 pound bag of Hash browns (thawed)
8oz Sour cream
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste (go generous with the pepper)
2 Tbsp Butter, cut into small pieces
Sour Cream and Onion Chips, crumbled
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Combine hash browns, sour cream, cream of mushroom soup, cheese, salt and pepper in a large casserole dish. Mix well. Top mixture with crumbled chips. Top chips with pats of butter spaced evenly apart. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
It’s that easy! This is not the healthiest dish, but it’s SO good. In any case it’s OK to indulge in moderation once in a while.
Gobble Gobble everyone!
In my last post, I hinted at the feelings of self-worth I have been struggling with as a stay at home wife/homemaker, but I didn’t really delve into the topic too deeply because I wasn’t certain about how I wanted to approach it. In general I have a problem with the term “working mom” as compared to a stay at home mom. The reason being, I think the term “working mom” sends the message that stay at home moms don’t work. It is especially important to be careful when using these terms around children. I think when it comes to our kids we need to be super careful about the messages we’re sending them consciously or subconsciously.
My mom was a stay at home mom for most of my youth, in fact because the Island we lived on lacked good schools, she even home schooled my brothers and I up until high school. Let me tell you, I know we were a huge handful, and home schooling us must have been a huge challenge for her. She really did make the ultimate sacrifice for us. However when I was younger I can remember over hearing conversations between my parents where my dad would saying something like, “well I have to work” and I can remember how upset this made my mom and how my dad would quickly try to rectify the situation, but I think on some subconscious level these snip-its even though they were immediately retracted sent me the message that the work of being a stay at home mom wasn’t as valued or recognized as the work one does outside the home. So I have long since struggled against the idea of being a domesticated house wife. Yet, the rational side of my brain knows full well that there is tremendous value in being a stay at home mom. The challenge is redefining that role and perhaps my own perceptions of it and making it into something that I feel just as proud to display (if I end up assuming this role) as I would being a top CEO.
This blog post by my amazing cousin, couldn’t sum up my own feelings better.
What are your thoughts?
I don’t have the answer to this issue. My biggest dream has always been to have children of my own but in recent years I’ve also developed a new dream of having a thriving career in my professional field, one that I love by the way. When Raf and I got married we decided that we would wait 4-5 years before starting a family, while knowing full well that I would be in graduate school around that time.
Well, I got pregnant with this little boy in my last semester of grad school, which I couldn’t have been happier about, but suddenly I started worrying about what this would do to my career. I was applying for jobs and soon after graduating I went on a bunch of interviews but none of them seemed to work out and then I became VISIBLY pregnant so we decided that I should table the job hunt until after the baby arrives. In any case I never felt good about keeping my pregnancy a secret from potential employers during the interviews, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still did it, because I knew that despite the fact that they weren’t allowed to discriminate, that the pregnancy would hurt my chances of being hired. It’s just the reality of the world we live in, but still it felt icky to keep the secret.
Here’s the thing. I want to have a career. I have a passionate desire to make an impact on the world that goes beyond my nuclear family. I also want to be a mom AND I don’t like the thought of anyone other than my husband or I raising our children. So how do I reconcile these two things, without feeling like I’m giving something up?
The other issue is that we want to have our children be close in age, so if we have 3 children, spaces roughly 2 years apart that could mean 10 years before the youngest is in pre-school. It would be brutal for my career aspects to take the first 10 years straight out of graduate school to raise my children before pursuing my career. How would I explain that 10 year gap on my resume? How would I stay current during that time?
I don’t have hard and fast answers to these questions. I know loads of women make it work, but I’m not sure how I am going to make it work yet. Perhaps I need to look into finding a way to work from home, or working on a flexible schedule, or finding something part-time for a while. I just don’t know. Right now I can’t really have an exact idea because our son isn’t born yet and I know that my feelings and thoughts on this subject will be a lot easier to sort out once he gets here…or I least I’m hoping they will be.
The last issue is that we have a TON of student loan debt. Even though Raf has a good job (not to mention we have very supportive families), I feel guilty about putting the financial burden solely on his shoulders, and it’s not just guilt either that eating me. I find myself struggling with feelings about my own self-worth. Right now since the baby hasn’t arrived yet, I’m feeling pretty useless as a stay at home wife. Again I’m hoping these feelings change once I have our son gets here, because then I’ll feel like we’re both contributing equally to the family, albeit in very different ways.
I wish I had the answers to these questions, but I just don’t. The only thing I know for sure, is that if I had to sacrifice one of these things, if I was forced to choose, I would without a doubt sacrifice my career for my children. I just hope it doesn’t come to that.
I wonder if anyone has it truly figured out, or if this is something that all moms with career aspirations face. If anyone has any ideas I’d love to hear them. How do you reconcile career goals with parenting desires?