When I first started blogging, I found myself fitting in, not with the other mom bloggers, but with the fringe groups. The infertility bloggers, the baby loss bloggers, the special needs bloggers – those were people I could identify with much more so than the people I was supposed to fit in with. Maybe I hadn’t lost a child, maybe I hadn’t struggled in that very same way, but I had struggled in my own way.
We were the outsiders. The misfits. We had stories that no one wanted to hear about. Elephants sat at our tables, in corners and we were forever on the outside of normal, looking in. It’s the natural progression, I suppose, that I would create a space for us to gather. I’m proud of that. There are many of us outsiders. So many more than I’d thought.
When my daughter was born sick, it was no surprise that it was these people that came to my side with swords to help me slay my dragon, fluffy tissues to wipe the tears, and a barf bucket for when it all came to be too much.
I have an email folder that I’ve carefully saved every email I’ve gotten from that time that someday, I will print out to show my daughter. Most of the emails are from the people like me. Like most of you. The outsiders. The people who have been through hell but know how to make the ride a little…easier.
Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss day. Every year, I do a Wall of Remembrance for the people who have picked me up, dusted me off and wiped the barf off my face when I needed it most.
For that, I owe them everything.
According to the Center’s For The Disease Control’s Website, about 1 in every 100-200 births in the United States results in a stillbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 million stillbirths occur yearly worldwide. One in every four diagnosed pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The numbers for neonatal and postnatal deaths run into the tens of thousands.
Those numbers seem large to me, but even after having to take a statistics class to get through nursing school I can’t say that I’m much of a numbers person. My son, he likes numbers, which is why he’ll be off saving the world, one string of code at a time, while Your Aunt Becky sits here, mouth breathing and occasionally wondering aloud, “Is the INTERNET working?”
Numbers aren’t my thing. People are my thing. 1 in 100-200 sounds like a hell of a lot bigger number when you attach faces to those numbers. Faces, stories and names. People. My friends. My nieces, my nephews, their parents. Tables forever missing one. Lives cut short. Unlived.
Still born. Born still.
My friends. Their children.
Today, we remember.
Baby Twin lost at 8 wks
Baby C miscarried at 12 weeks on 1/7/07
Mindy’s three angels
Anne & Jed’s babies
Athena Rose Moore – 24 weeks Gestation (2nd loss, only one named)
Baby 1 – 9 weeks
Baby B – Twin to my 13yo, 12 weeks
Baby 2 – 9 weeks
Tevin, Taylor & Tristen
Baby J A and Baby J B
Selena- lost pregnancy at 9 weeks
Baby K, Gabriel Connor, Christian Elliot and Andrew
Eva and seven additional losses
Ava and Nathaniel
Micaela, Angelica, and Frankie
Becca’s twin siblings
Clayton and Skylar
Baby A and Baby B twin girls
Josie Ree Smith
Samuel and Amelia
Baby George – stillbirth
In memory of my baby girl, Kaela Alexandria, 7 months and 4 days old when she passed.
Baby Ari, August 21, 2000.
Baby 1, August 2004, miscarriage. Baby 2, September 2009, and little baby girl Addison, accidental suffocation, 2008.
Iris Rose, respiratory problems, three years old, April, 2012.
MTGracie – Her two little forget-me-nots.
Baby Roessler, miscarriage, 7 weeks gestation
Noah Issac (9/1999) and Angel Faith (6/2005)
Lidia Faith and Ronnie Jo aged 7 and 3 at time of death on 12/2/2010. They passed away in a house fire.
Our sweet baby Ava Rose, miscarried at 13 weeks on Oct 3, 2007. I will never forget. <3
Mackenzie. She’d have been 19 this year.
Patrick and Anthony, born at 22 weeks gestation. They would be 19 1/2, if they had lived.
Isabella Joy (miscarried in April 2003).
Thaddeus and Clara
I’ll add any names to this list so if you’d like me to add a name, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment.
At Band Back Together, we have a Wall of Remembrance as well. Remembering, loving these lost souls is so very important to me.
At 7 pm tonight, October 15th, A Day To Remember, I will burn a candle in memorium.
Dona nobis pacem.
(give us peace) Lord, give us peace.
Do Women Really Shop More Than Men? Not During the Holiday Season…
According to a holiday shopping survey, men planned to spend more than women on gifts in 2013. If you’re a woman, it’s likely you’ve spit out your coffee, or you’re shaking your head, or you’re saying something along the lines of: “Um…no.” A 2013 Gallop poll backs up the survey results, and women everywhere are scratching their heads.
· Women ages 15-30 spend on average $214.67 per gift
· Women ages 31-57 spend on average $203.36
· Men ages 15-30 spend on average $296.45
· Men ages 31-57 spend the most, averaging $332.11
(Holy cow! That’s over $100 more per gift!)
APPARENTLY, It’s MEN Who Are SHOPPING
Isn’t ‘women and shopping’ like the single most-used television trope and stand-up comedian go-to? It’s one of those stereotypes that continues to thrive despite great strides in feminism, and big changes to traditional gender roles. Come on – there’s stay-at-home-dads now, and wives sometimes make more money than their husbands (and, that’s okay). Society seems to be coming around to the idea that women are equal to men, but not when it comes to shopping.
Despite statistics that clearly show men will spend more this holiday season, women are still burdened by old shopping stereotypes. And, women will continue to see advertisements geared toward their holiday shopping. And, women will continue to be the butt of jokes at holiday parties, and other events, where husbands, brothers, dads and grandpas all laugh at their holiday spending.
CHANGE THE CONVERSATION
It’s time to turn it around on men, but in a playful way. Suggest these studies as proof that men shop and women actually save.
Women have long been painted as money-hungry gold-diggers. There are thousands of jokes, sayings, and quotes depicting women as credit hungry shopaholics. Male comedians often complain about their wives and girlfriends draining their bank accounts, and taking long trips to the mall.
This holiday season, you can change the conversation. When an uncle/brother/boyfriend/husband/dad/grandpa brings up the old stereotype, ask them where they’re getting their proof. Chances are high they’ll point to their wives’ recent trip to the mall, or a recent online shopping excursion. Once they’ve given their proof, you can floor them by sending them a link to the two above-mentioned surveys. Everyone is sure to have a good laugh, and you’ll have opened up a safe dialog about changing attitudes toward women and spending.
IT’S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS…
This holiday shopping season it isn’t about who spent what, or what gender shops more. It’s about the thought, the gifts you give, and the respect you have for everyone (gender unspecified).
Men and women both seem to care about the gifts they give, and that’s because this is the season of giving (Not, the season of giving stereotypes). Gifts for men should be thoughtful, and meaningful to the recipient, such as a new grill for the grill master, or a toolset for the handyman in your life, or even a new blow dryer or nail care set–haha, men like those, right? And, the same goes for women – give her a tool box if she’s handy. It’s not about gender stereotypes, but rather about creating joy in the lives of the people you love most.
If you feel targeted by jokes about women shopping (either with or without your husband’s credit card), you have the tools to change the conversation. You don’t have to put up with archaic stereotypes, especially because they’re unfounded by current studies and surveys.
Simply put: most people love to shop. It’s got nothing to do with gender.
After what felt to be 27 years – but was more likely to have been 27 minutes – I decided that one melting down child (read: me) was enough; it was time to return to our humble room to watch some … whatever people watch in hotels that isn’t porn. When I’d skinned the kids of their wet suits, much to their vocal displeasure, I noted that they were covered tip to tail in a rash. Attributing it to over-chlorination, I felt, for the first time, pleased with the hotel. We all know kids whiz in pools with alarming frequency and by the rashes on their bodies, I figured that even if some kid dropped some pipe in the pool, it’d probably immediately be reduced into an effervescent chemical reaction that looked remarkably like pool water. The kids, on the other hand, weren’t as comforted as I. Instead of doing the right thing and plunking them into the bath, instead I tried to rub hydrocortisone cream onto their skin.
Bad fucking news.
I halfway expected DCFS to break down the doors with the screams Mimi was emitting, noting that while they didn’t quite sheer the ugly “tropical” wallpaper from the walls, it came damn close. Feeling like total shit for making things worse, I tried to make it up to them without much success. Finally, my father returned with Culver’s which, at the very least, provided the distraction needed to move on with the evening with our eardrums intact.
We picked at the food until we deemed it “done” and began the task of cleaning the room. As I hadn’t known when we’d be lounging against the machine, I’d declined maid service for the day. Besides, I’m perfectly capable of cleaning up a mess made in part by me and in part by those who (unfortunately for them) share my DNA. The Littles sat on the bed watching Minecraft videos and lamenting the snail’s pace of the hotel wireless while I busily cleaned the room, getting ready for the ultimate in sucktastic jobs – packing.
Soon the room was nearly clean and I steeled myself for the packing project by staring dejectedly at my suitcase, hoping that some magical packing fairy would come along and pack for me. I’m absolutely uncertain how – without purchasing a single thing – every time I go to pack, my crap has multiplied. With the kids? It’s like eleventy-niner times the amount I’d brought. When no magical packing gnome fell out of the sky or someone’s ass, I got ready to get down and dirty.
That was when something caught my eye.
Earlier that day, we’d thrown what was supposed to pass for food down our throats. I sadly ate my boring oatmeal as I jealously watched my eldest devour a chocolate chip muffin. I don’t know if the muffin was supposed to be “extra mess-worthy,” but I swear to you, Pranksters, I’ve never seen a muffin end up spattered on walls, in the hallway, and in the bedroom next door. I’d assume it’s simply Ben’s amazing ability to eat without actually getting food in his mouth, but without further inspection, I didn’t particularly care.
So that’s what I assumed it was.
More chocolate chip muffin carnage.
Because I am not a complete dick*, I grabbed some tissue to pick up the chunk on the floor – no reason to make more work for the maids, who, I’d assumed, lived in a perpetual homicidal state after cleaning up after kids all day, every day. It was, I figured, the very least I could do. Only after I’d absentmindedly picked up the chunk on the floor did I realize what it was. It wasn’t muffin wreckage. It wasn’t the remains of the airplane that vanished. It was decidedly not brownie batter. It wasn’t the Lindbergh baby or that huge ass diamond from motherfucking Titanic. It wasn’t even Carmen motherfucking Sandiego.
It was a chunk of shit.
Horrified, I threw the offending turd into the garbage can and practically elevated to the bathroom to scour my hands. The kids, sensing something was wrong – I think it was the screaming and retching that tipped ‘em off – stared at me all wide-eyed. I stared back at them, remembering all of the times I’d said “jeepers, mister, this room smells like a fresh dook!” when it dawned on me – without maid service in the room, the remnants of someone’s colon had been sitting on the floor since we’d checked in. We’d unknowingly slept in a hotel room in which someone had laid pipe.
Someone’s entirely digested breakfast had made its way from their colon onto the floor in my hotel room. Crawled? Deliberately placed? Oops I crapped my pants? Carelessly tossed from a rectum? Gnomes? Vampires? I scratched at the inside of my brain and could come up with no good reason why a pile of poo had been left in the room. And I knew I never would.
It was then that I suffered a complete break from reality:“I think we’re all fucked in the head. Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. You’re gonna have fun, and I’m gonna have fun!”
(pants)“We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’re gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes! Holy Shit“
“I think,” Alex said to his sister, “Mommy needs her medicine.”
“Yup,” she nodded. “She does.”