Thursday, September 9, 2010

Letting Go.

First it is summer.  We are finally sleeping at night, we have time for us, we are in a routine.  Our babies are toddlers, and they are delightful.  We are the small family we always wanted to be.

In creeps this unfinished business.  Suddenly I feel like this IUD is exactly what it is - birth CONTROL.  I can't escape the thought that infertility taught me to let go and yet inside my body is something with CONTROL in the title.  I need to face the unknown.  Need to face possibility.  Need to test my strength now that I am where I wanted to be.

We talk.  We discuss.  Do we want to open ourselves to possibility?  We feel pretty balanced as we are.  Kyle worries I will end up where I once was.  Heartbroken.  Depressed.  Disappointed.  Desperate.  And I say, therapeutically, I need this.  I remind him that it wouldn't be about trying for a baby, but to just let life happen.  He listens. 

We decide together.  Ditch the IUD. 

I feel free.

We move on.

Within a month I am disappointed in myself.

I suddenly don't want to nurse the babies anymore.  Could I be pregnant?

A week later.  I still don't want to nurse.  I feel tired.  Am I?

I start craving spice.  I describe my favorite Vietnamese and Thai foods to friends and feel like crying in my desperation to eat it all, now.

I have a talk with myself.  You don't even want to be pregnant right now.  It terrifies you.  You're back at your old sleepy afternoon and it MUST be pregnancy, huh?  You're psychotic.  You made a mistake, removing that IUD.  You weren't ready for the unknown.  Don't let Kyle know you're obsessing over this.  Just don't.  You promised him you wouldn't go back there. 

I decide I will take a test on the sly.  Clear the slate.  Confirm what I know must be true.  I am not pregnant but I am insane.  Move on. 

I don't buy a test.  There's no good time.  No good time?

I am tired.  I want spice.  I am peeing awfully frequently.

I fess up to Kyle, sheepish.  I am obsessed with this idea that I'm pregnant.  I can't shake it.  I'm so embarrassed.  I need to take a test, and then I will move on.

I have no idea what he thinks. 

He buys a test on his way home from work. 

Seven weeks have passed since my IUD was removed.

I tear off the cellophane wrapper and run into the bathroom.

I look forward to breathing again.

I pee.

I start to set the test on the counter when I see the blue plus sign.

A blue plus sign.

A blue plus sign.

A blue plus sign.

The symbol I dreamed about through three years of infertility.  The moment I coveted with every desperate cell of my being - casually taking a test, only to find that, indeed, I am pregnant.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I've got Lex Appeal!

A few months back, I was interviewed for a clever new podcast called Lex Appeal, which delves into the raw, human, sexier side of the law.  In the wake of the Facebook buzz generated from these posts, the guys who do the show appealed to my vanity and asked me to do an interview.  As a blogger, I was very excited to be asked to be a part of the show.  On my blog, I'm in control.  I get to go on and on and on and on about whatever I find oh-so-interesting.  But being asked by somebody else to talk about the same stuff?  Means that at least one other human being finds me mildly worthwhile.  And cheers to that.

So without further lamenting about how fantastic I must be, I invite you to listen to the now-available final product.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


We are in the grocery store.

You are teething; mouth swollen and bruised
but we are in reprieve and you are laughing.

I am warmth and you are mine.

She walks toward us with a cold blue stare I chide my judgement and offer a smile
She swoops in as I am distracted

cruel words
in your direction.

Your face.
I wait for your sweet eyes to crumple.
They don't.

Before that happens I stop being human.
I stop being

who loves

deep breaths
what is right
open fields
and sunshine

and I am only

who sees a threat

I lose everything to this one realization:

I would kill
to protect you.

I am alarmed and distracted and raw
and cannot compose an appropriate response

Instead I think I roar
only like the mother that I am.

We lock eyes, she and I.
Try as I might, I cannot pull my message away.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blood Work

Sweet baby.
Today you needed some blood drawn.

First we went to the grocery store
where I bought you a balloon
because you were happy
and I felt ashamed that this world can be too harsh

Get Well Soon!
Scrawled across silver mylar
and I wish that towards the world

where you will be subjected to life
the difficult things we have to choose
and the difficult things we never would

I couldn't bear to go into that tiny lab room with you
so your Papa held you on his lap

your brother and I distracting ourselves in the waiting room
until my guilt made me pass by the window

your tiny scared face
rightfully angry
hot tears and sweat

When Papa carried you out
the world could have split
you on one side
I on the other

and nothing
would have kept me
from pulling you into my arms

I'm so sorry that I cannot promise
smooth sailing from here

and even sorrier that I can promise
rocky seas will come

but that is life
and we're building you a strong ship.

Tonight we put you to bed
and at first you were happy

but then the tears swelled
a deep cry
and I couldn't stop imagining you
afraid of that needle

I went and first I held you
and then I put you back to bed
leaning into your crib
rubbing your back
and then my hand still
feeling your tiny breath

Twice I tried to take my hand away
your wide eyes found me
and back it went
until you made it safely to sleep

The trick, I think
is keeping that hand there
gently on your back

even once I've left the room.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I learned pride tonight
here when I thought I knew it all along

but that on the face of my baby son
blowing bubbles in the bath water

half the time taking accidental gulps

all for my applause -

unabashed wild smile
and a sparkle in his eye

I want him to always be this free
and acutely unaware

my torn open heart again and again

be careful, so careful.

These are beautiful tiny humans and all that that entails.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picking raspberries at the well.

Had I known
that one year olds can pick their own raspberries
reaching out with fat sticky fingers
joyful and sure

had I known the caution-less bliss
no bug checks
just raspberry to mouth
again and again

and had I known
I mean really known

sweet raspberry pulp
smeared haphazardly on baby fat chins

I wouldn't have chosen writing as my outlet

but photography to catch


But then I realize no still camera could capture
the sun's dance in pixie wisps
the way it really is

and so maybe cinematography
until I realize no lens at all
can appreciate
that the wind is better when it's laced with
belly laughs
and chatter untainted by a good grasp of language.

So I'm back to words
and feel like I can't get enough air

until the right word is found

time is slipping away
this will pass
before I've captured it right
and before I'm ready to let it go


and still nothing feels big enough
right enough
or true enough.

Not disillusioned by art
but humbled by life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shhhh. Just don't tell Perez.

Around the time that Rhys and Quin were conceived, Matt Damon and I had a very short-lived but passionate affair.

Kyle knows. He's okay with it.

Matt's one of my celebrity freebies.

What? You don't have a list of celebrity freebies? You're hardly living.

Anyway, I definitely probably would never make something like this up.

I especially wouldn't be so crass as to suggest that one of my children is Matt Damon's illegitimate love child.


Okay.  Maybe I definitely am exactly that crass.

(Thanks Kevin and Jill for the photographic evidence.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Somewhere in a dark corner, Facebook is eating the tiniest morsel of crow. At least for the moment.

Remember the misogyny fan page on Facebook that I recently wrote about?

It's gone.

Just like that.  The only way I know it is gone is because I've been checking in regularly.  Facebook doesn't seem to communicate with the account holders who report offensive content, which seems to be a poor choice in customer service to me, but I suppose that's their right.

Either way, the page is gone, even though I'm not exactly sure how or why Facebook finally chose to remove it.  I think it's reasonable to believe that enough of us reported the page and pushed Facebook to act, so I'm going to count this as a small victory.

The disappointing thing is that originally, I was counting this as a big victory.  After I wrote about  the hypocritical Facebook policies regarding images of women's bodies and showed images of the highly sexualized and objectified pictures of women's breasts that Facebook allows next to my banned breastfeeding picture, most of the objectifying images and applications suddenly disappeared from Facebook.  Since that post had a lot of exposure, I was hoping and believing that the hundreds of people who reported those images had helped to get them removed.  So before writing this post, I decided to check back in and see how Facebook is doing on equally applying their policies regarding images of breasts.  We know they're still removing images of women breastfeeding, so I had foolishly hoped that they're at least also applying their ignorant policies to the content that objectifies women and is actually offensive.  No such luck.  A quick search for "tits" and "boobs" on Facebook brought up many of the images from my original post that had initially been removed.   Even more disheartening were the many new fan pages and applications that go even further to objectify women's bodies.

Maybe I'm just paranoid.  Maybe I'm starting to reek of Facebook conspiracy theory.  But any way I look at it, I cannot find any reasonable explanation for why Facebook would remove misogynistic content when they're getting a lot of negative publicity over it, and then quietly re-instate that content when the buzz dies down.  From every angle, all I see is Facebook contributing to a social structure that allows for violence toward and hatred of women.

Will the misogyny page come back in a few weeks?  I don't know if it even matters.  The real misogyny page is the one that opens when you visit

Monday, May 24, 2010


Using the facilities used to be a private matter in our house.

I liked that privacy.

There was a time in life when I would have assured you that there was nothing, nothing, that would ever cause me to let go of that privacy.

Enter Rhys and Quin.  Both literally and figuratively.  Into the bathroom.  Where I am.

They stagger in teetering like dizzy drunks with big toothy smiles and triumphantly signing, over and over again, POTTY!  POTTY!  POTTY!

I am SO glad we taught them to sign, so that in situations like this when I think that perhaps my dignity is still fully intact because after all, they are so young and still in diapers thus they do not use the POTTY - I can learn that in fact, my dignity is in shreds.  Yes.  Mommy is on the potty.

And I'll be damned if I know what to do while I'm sitting there, otherwise indisposed, and one of them falls and bumps his head on a corner and is now crying to be picked up.  Now mommy is on the potty and Quin is on her lap.

At which time it is only fair that Rhys discovers toilet paper.  And this toddler who is still learning coordination somehow manages to unravel the entire roll onto the floor before I've even figured out how to reach an arm out in a weak attempt to stop him.  Now mommy is on the potty and Quin is on her lap and Rhys is on the floor in a pile of toilet paper that mommy needs and cannot reach.

I've changed my mantra.

It now goes like this.

Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated. I bet Kyle is pooping in peace at work.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Would anyone find out if I started stashing a bottle of vodka in here? Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.  Privacy is overrated.

Monday, May 17, 2010


National Infertility Awareness week took place the week of April 25th.

I didn't write about it.

I thought about writing a post on it, and each time I sat down to work on it, I would end up spilling a frustrated mish-mash of words onto the screen.  Sometimes I sounded angry.  Sometimes bitter.  Sometimes resentful.  Sometimes sad, sellf-pitying, and pathetic.  I stopped trying to write about it.

One pregnancy and two babies later, it is sometimes difficult to know where I fall with infertility.

Then I saw this video, from Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed:

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

Suddenly I found my words, in the form of many "what if's" of my own.

What if my infertility-inflicted wounds do not heal?

What if a small part of me always feels like a fraud?

What if I forget where I came from?  What if I can't?

What if my sharing the joys and hardships of motherhood is hurtful to those still struggling through infertility?

What if I don't deserve to describe the hardships of motherhood?

What if people never stop asking if twins run in my family?

What if I make the wrong decision for our four frozen embryos?

What if I never stop being angry?

What if it never stops hurting?

I used to think that the cure for infertility must be a baby.  What I didn't count on was the aftermath of infertility; the role of mother has been achieved, but this woman who I have become is not the woman I was when I started on this journey.

Don't get me wrong.  I am beyond grateful that IVF worked for us.  I love being a mother.  Bred into the love I have for my children is the realization of how close I was to never having them in my life.

There are parts of me that just want to live in the moment and forget how I got here.  I know that I never can.

For me, infertility has been about acceptance.  As I sit here today, I realize that my newest task is to accept the fact that while there is necessary healing that will happen, the inevitable reality is that the fabric of my being is forever altered.

National Infertility Awareness week has passed.  

The heartbreak of infertility has not.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is it just me, or is Mark Zuckerberg starting to make Harvard look bad?

Okay, so Harvard can't help it if some of their students turn out to be greedy, arrogant, pricks.  But I mean, come on.  You're Harvard.  Surely, the admissions process must be rigorous enough to highlight sociopathic personality traits.

Wait a minute.  Did I just call Mark Zuckerberg a sociopath?

Here, a direct quote from Mark Zuckerberg, talking about why early Facebook users would submit their personal information to the site: "I don't know why.  'They trust me'.  Dumb fucks."

Sounds kind of sociopathic to me.

Anyhoo, I kind of have a general philosophy about NOT trusting people who would call me a "dumb fuck" for doing so.  To that end, I share with you what I believe is the equivalent of safer-sex for the Facebook user: ways to keep your Facebook content at least a little more private.  You don't want your profile information to be getting all promiscuous with this guy, do you?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Facebook...apparently a safe harbor for misogyny

A few days ago I wrote about quitting Facebook.  Here's the thing...

I'm not going to quit Facebook.

I'll be honest, there are a couple of selfish reasons why I'm going to continue to utilize a company whose morals  threaten to make Ted Nugent sound like a good guy.  I like staying in contact with friends and family who I don't get to see regularly (yes - I could do this via another social networking service - but until THEY all move over too, well...) and a lot of my blog readers connect to my posts via Facebook.  I'm no Dooce - I need every reader I can get.

But selfish reasons aside, there's a more compelling reason that I'm not quitting Facebook: I think Facebook sucks.

I also think that Facebook is not going away any time soon.

So I can take a stand, pack up my principals, and leave (which, to be honest, is exactly what Facebook probably wants from its less-than-cooperative users - after all, they kick people off for swimming upstream, and with 400,000,000 users, they certainly don't need me), or I can take a stand, gather my principals around me, and stay.

I don't plan to stay quietly.

I plan to regularly, methodically, and insistently expose Facebook's misogyny and lackluster corporate responsibility.  I plan to blog, Tweet, and yes, use Facebook, to reach as many people as possible to work together to ask them to change.

Facebook has no reason to care if non-users think they suck.  But if Facebookers start complaining, start suggesting, start reporting content that spreads hate and perpetuates inequality, then maybe, just maybe, Facebook will start to have reason to care.

That said, today I'm focusing on the Facebook fan page titled "Misogyny."  Since misogyny is defined as hatred of women, I would have expected that when I and several of my Facebook friends reported this page, it would have been removed.  After all, Facebook explains in their Terms of Use that:

We remove content that harasses an individual or group. Facebook also must honor requests to remove content that draws unwanted attention to specific people. To prevent this from happening in the future, please be careful to review the content of any group you administer.
Facebook thoroughly reviews every report we receive to determine whether or not the content violates our Terms of Use. Any content that is considered sexually explicit, violent, malicious or otherwise offensive will be removed. If you received a warning about an item that was taken down, then we have established that it violated these terms.
I would consider a fan page dedicated to the hatred of women as containing content that "harasses an individual or group."  And as a woman, I also have to say that the type of attention drawn to woman from such a group is "unwanted."  They claim to "thoroughly review every report" they receive to determine if there's been a violation.  I wonder how they could review this page, multiple times, and NOT conclude that it is "violent, malicious, or otherwise offensive."

And so I have to ask, why is it that Facebook is knowingly allowing a group dedicated to the hatred of women?


Click here to visit the Facebook misogyny page - on the left hand side near the bottom is the link to report the know what to do.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's nice to meet you!

I've fallen into the unfortunate habit of over-sharing the mundane details of our adventures in erranding, especially trips to the grocery store.

I'm sorry.  

I'm even more sorry that I have no real plans to stop.  

I tell myself, "okay.  Okay.  That's enough for a while," but then we go to the grocery store and while I'm wearing Quin on my front, he discovers the wonderful world of (and do excuse the lack of sophistication in the following term) motorboating.  Not the water sport, friends.  The face-in-cleavage kind.  With loud and exuberant sound effects.  And I'm pushing Rhys in the cart and he and I are shaking hands non-stop while I say emphatically, over and over again, "It's nice to meet you!" because that's our grocery store game and he finds it hilarious and it keeps him from jumping ship and escaping to the banana display.  And then Quin decides that motorboating is significantly more fun if he grabs onto my ears and pulls outward, so now we're really attracting attention as I push our cart with one hand trying to avoid a collision while one child practices manners, the other practices a total lack thereof, and my ears are stretched beyond the realms of normalcy and any pretense of comfort.  And as all this is happening, I'm thinking how I really need to do a post on this because I have no self control and I cannot stop.  

And so I'm sorry.

Friday, May 7, 2010


That song came on the radio

drumming through my veins
when I was younger I'd hear it and feel sexy

and today you heard it
you grinned with all four teeth
and bounced on chubby legs

I scooped you up
a baby on each hip

we danced in the kitchen
in front of the dirty dishes
I was supposed to be washing

spinning and twirling and bouncing and dipping

you threw your head back and laughed
and held on tight

I try to be more awake
understanding that some day
you will love to hear this story

and then some day you won't

your chore will be to wash the dishes
and you won't want to dance with me instead.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Listen, Facebook. It's not you, it's me. I want to break up.

A friend sent me a link to this fantastic post on why you should quit Facebook.  I'm not even slightly tech savvy, so I have to admit that a few of the reasons you should quit Facebook were over my head.  Since the author focused primarily on the technical/privacy aspects of Facebook, I'm adding two reasons of my own.  It is because of these two reasons that in thirty days, I'm taking the plunge.  I'm breaking up with Facebook.

1. Facebook is misogynistic.  Their tendency to allow sexualized images of women and to ban images of empowered women is not a mistake.  It is the atmosphere they have crafted.  If the virtual community of Facebook were a work environment, they would be sued regularly for sexual harassment.

2. Facebook is making money off of you.  And me.  And by continuing to stand by and accept their sexism, their privacy violations, and their big-brotherish bullying, we are saying "okay."  I make a point of sending my money in the direction of companies that I respect.  Companies with corporate values and social responsibility.  Since Facebook is a massive fail in these categories, I'm moving my consumer voice elsewhere.

I'm not going to sit here and say "okay" any more.  I'm creating an exit strategy, and I'm leaving.  Facebook isn't the only gig in town.  Sure they're huge.  But only because we allow them to be.


I started a Facebook page called "In thirty days, I'm breaking up with FB."  I had to use FB because fittingly, Facebook would not allow me to use "Facebook" in the name of my group.  I'm guessing Facebook might remove the group, or me, before I finish my thirty day exit strategy, but it's worth a try.  On the page, I will be detailing my plan for departure.  I'm certain that life exists both before, and after, Facebook.


(about 45 minutes later)
Having second thoughts.  Do I NEED Facebook for the sake of my blog?  Have deleted my "breaking up with FB page" while I mull this over.

Monday, May 3, 2010


The babies are on a strike.  Actually, one baby is on a strike, the other crosses the picket line daily.

Babies, I have found, are fond of exercising their right to strike, especially when unionized as in the case of any and all sets of multiples.  In the past fifteen months, we've had nap strikes, poop strikes, nighttime-sleep strikes, walking strikes, and independent-play strikes.

As a member of executive management on this parental team, I've become a master at negotiating peaceful resolutions, which might come in handy right about now, since our latest strike is a biggie: food strike.

While Quin eats every last bite of food that crosses his path, Rhys has become quite exacting in his food standards.  Slowly, he has whittled his formerly diverse diet down to one favored food - banana.  All other foods are meticulously cast over the edge of his highchair tray and onto the floor, where at the conclusion of every meal, Quin and Bella hover, sharing delectable discarded morsels.

It's been a steady and slippery slope.  First he (Rhys) cut out egg - one of his favorite foods, second only to the wondrous banana.  Then it was toast.  Then oatmeal.  And so on.  If I am crafty and incredibly casual, sometimes I will have a short-lived bout of success at breaking his strict "bananas only" rule.  He'll nibble my toast, or have a bite of melon.  Before I even get my hopes up, he is puckering his face and dramatically wiping his tongue off with his pudgy hand.  I find myself wondering if humans can live on a diet comprised almost solely of bananas.    I find myself feeling more thankful than ever that he is still nursing.  I find myself wondering how many bananas it will take to push us back into poop-strike territory.

And here's the big deal: I'm not worried.  

Strike negotiations haven't commenced.  He wins.  

Don't get me wrong - I have certainly noticed  this new trend.  I've talked about it with other parents.  And here I am writing about it. 

But I haven't run to the internet, or one of the several options in my vast baby book library, to get advice.  I know it is a phase.  I get it.  I know it will pass.

If I didn't know any better, I might even say I'm relaxed.

Break out the red pens and fill in my report card, please.  The comments section will now read: "is a relaxed and confident mother." 


Okay.  So maybe we happen to have our fifteen month well-baby visit this Thursday.  So what if the banana-issue is at the top of my painfully long list of questions for the pediatrician.   I want my damn gold star.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ever found yourself screaming, "It's f@#^ing SLEEPY TIME!" at 3am? Well, mama, this post is for you.

There were a few times in college where I remember dramatically labeling myself "sleep deprived."  Doing so was kind of sexy.  Getting up and dragging oneself to class with tousled hair and last night's eye makeup smeared all over the left facial region said "I consider myself quite busy and important...too much so to shower before class.  Aren't I mysterious?"  Or something like that.  Young Hollywood seems to think itself chronically sleep deprived, with their ever-so-posh hospitalizations for "exhaustion."  

I have come to feel a bit territorial over the terms "sleep deprived" and "exhaustion."  Mothers are sleep deprived.  Every one else is just whiny.  (Disclaimer: My three-day sleep total = under twelve hours.  I am not rational, kind, or understanding at this moment.  Prepare to be offended.  Prepare to be horrified.  Just don't say I didn't warn you.)

Because our nation clearly has an issue tossing around the terms "sleep deprivation" and "exhaustion" like candy at a parade, let me attempt to set some new parameters to the concept.  If you cannot relate to the following incidents,  congratulations, you are NOT sleep deprived.  If you can, it's official.  You are sleep deprived.  Welcome to the club, sister.

You are definitely sleep deprived if...
  • You are writing/reading this post while eating an entire batch of buttercream frosting with a spoon.  Caffeine is too obvious and reeks of trying to hard.
  • Within the last week, you've turned to your husband at 4am and hissed, "I am going into the fucking kitchen to grab a fucking frying pan to fucking smash my fucking face in because I CANNOT fucking take any fucking more of this and I am so. fucking. tired." and he just rolled over and went back to sleep without saying a word because it's the third time you've threatened tonight and so far you seem to be making hollow threats.
  • You've zoned out for A TEENSY SECOND in the grocery store and upon zoning back in you find your fifteen month old standing up on the seat of the cart leaning into the back to pop open a beer.
  • In a desperate attempt to keep from becoming one of those mothers who yells, you've taken to loudly reciting children's books and songs when you've had it up to here: "I SAID A BOOM-CHICK-A-BOOM!  I SAID A BOOM-CHICK-A-BOOM!  I SAID A BOOM-CHICK-A-ROCKA-CHICK-A-ROCKA-CHICKA-BOOM!  Your children are terrified when you start to sing.
  • You've screamed, "it's FUCKING sleepy time!" at 3am and wondered who the crazy screaming woman is and how she got into your bed.
  • Yesterday you fell asleep laying in the middle of the living room floor with your fifteen month old twins playing loudly right next to you.  You woke up to find three sticky fingers in your nose, a thumb in your ear, and two smooshed noses pressed against your forehead.  
  • You've run out of diapers but because you are too tired to go to the store, you pray that nobody will poop.  Of course somebody poops, at which time you are faced with either fashioning a diaper out of duct tape and paper towels or opening the diaper, removing the poop, and re-applying the diaper like it never happened.  Since this is purely a hypothetical situation, we do not need to get into discussing the choice that was made.
I think you get the gist here.  Of course, do keep in mind that, as stated above, these are all purely hypothetical situations which probably definitely NEVER HAPPENED in my house.  But if they happened to you, I think you should know that you are probably definitely not alone.  Wink wink.  

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Okay, so it's not sexy.

When Rhys and Quin first came home from the hospital, I was terrified to take them in the car.  It felt crazy to take those tiny five pound babies and casually buckle them into their car every purpose in life cruising along, listening to Rusted Root, facing backward and rendering me blind to their well-being in my own necessary forward facing.  I've never had those baby mirrors that let you keep an eye out because I've read that they can become dangerous projectiles in an accident.  Over time, I got accustomed to driving on high alert - the tiniest peep, burp, or cough would raise every hair on my body as I tuned in to decide whether it was a "normal" baby noise or a SOMETHING IS WRONG baby noise.  I was counting down the days until they would reach the necessary twenty pounds and one year old so that I could turn them around to face front.  The idea of us all facing forward just seemed so right - I would look in the rear view mirror and see their smiling faces, munching on crackers or sleeping in a warm haze.

Then I heard about Extended Rear Facing.  I've got to be honest, I think it sounds like something that might happen on a crazy Saturday night after a few tequila shots too many.  But really, it's disappointingly pure, and even more disappointing to my forward looking self, it is S-A-F-E-R in a very well documented statistical sense.  

If you haven't heard of ERF - it is simply keeping your baby/toddler in a rear-facing car seat past the twenty-pound, one year guideline.  The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks it's a good idea, as does the entire country of Sweden, where children stay rear facing until as old as five and where, during the period of 1992-1997, only nine children who were properly restrained in rear facing car seats died in motor vehicle crashes.  When you consider that car accidents are the number one cause of death for US children, that's a pretty remarkable statistic.  In fact, all of the statistics are remarkable, but don't take my word for it:
My little bubble of longed-for forward facing has been burst.  Rhys and Quin are both over the age of one and are both over 20 pounds.  They ride facing back, and they will continue to do so until they outgrow the guidelines for their car seats, which will be 33 pounds.  When I tell people this who are not familiar with ERF, they automatically ask where their legs go, and I myself asked the same question when I first heard about the concept.  Right now, they're still short enough that their feet barely come to the edge of their car seats.  Their legs are a little bit bent, but I doubt they'd ride with their knees locked and their legs out like dolls if they had the option. As they get older, they'll cross their legs, bend them more, or prop them up on the back seat.  Most kids prefer to bend and flex - do a Google search for images of ERF and you'll see lots of happy toddlers safely facing back and making it work. 

I had hoped to make this post at least slightly sexy or mildly interesting.  Alas, just as Extended Rear Facing turns out not to live up to its kinky-name potential (really...I can't be the only one who sees it!?), this post probably isn't going to make it onto anyone's Facebook status.  That's okay.  Just consider ERF and pass it on.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Friends, I've gone over to the dark side.




I've given up cloth diapers.

(Short moment of silence whilst I hang my head in shame and defeat.  Please feel free to use this time to point, laugh, judge, and scoff.  Better yet, if you know me in "real" life, DO remember that it was I, who only a month ago, was enthusiastically detailing my LOVE for cloth and attempting to make you feel like a miserable failure at life for your unwillingness to save the earth and your precious baby's tiny bum from the known and even worse, unknown evils of disposable diapers.  That was me.  I'm an asshole.  Can we move on now, please?)

The tagline for my blog is "mastering the universe, one cloth diaper at a time."  Dammit.  Somehow, "mastering the universe, one chlorine-laden diaper at a time" just doesn't have the same ring.

(I'm not really sure that I'm going to use chlorine-laden diapers, but the dramatic effect of toying with the idea is one I can't pass up.  Truth is, I spent all of my precious-few research-ready brain cells figuring out the PERFECT cloth diapering system, and since that has failed me, I find myself in Target feeling like Alice in Wonderland and staring hopelessly at piles and piles of shiny plastic packages covered in adorably swaddled baby bums knowing not what to do.)

Going through infertility, I had these symbols of motherhood in my head, things I needed to experience to make this life a full one: baby wearing (check), breastfeeding (check), cloth diapering (check)...

I had not planned to give up cloth until the babies were successfully destroying Cheerios with streams of urine in the big-boy potty.  But then our diapers got skunky.

I tried stripping them.  Spent a week with the babies in disposables running back and forth to the washer every hour to set another hot water rinse.  I tried Dawn.  I tried Bac-Out.  I tried leaving them in the sun for three days.  I tried Borax, bleach, washing soda, new detergent, no detergent, a wet pail, a dry pail, and standing on my head in front of the washing machine chanting ancient diaper-cleansing chants.

And finally, they were clean.


I transitioned the babies out of disposables and back into cloth.  We went through our full supply, and I washed them using my new sure-fire method.  The next morning, I brought the babies into our room to nurse. I lay in bed with them, thinking about the day, and smelling...something.  I nudged Kyle.  "Our house was sprayed by a skunk.  Do you smell that?"  He hadn't even opened his eyes before I realized my mistake.  I looked down at my two sweet babies in their adorably massive cloth diapers.  Damn.

I've recently decided to test my limits and sanity by taking on some new projects around the house.  In an insane moment of overestimating the hours in any given day, I gave up buying cereal, cookies, hummus, bread, and yogurt to make my own healthier, cheaper, organic versions.  Add to that, I've been making the babies food from scratch all along, which isn't difficult or incredibly time consuming.  It is, however, something that is not particularly optional.  "Sorry guys.  Mommy didn't make any steel cut oats today.  Would you rather have a beer?"  I've started a garden.   Blah, blah, blah.  I'm busy, and I take on too much.  And I usually balance "too much" just fine, because I don't usually mind teetering on the steep edge of total insanity.

But I'm a smell person.  A laundry person.  I don't like skunky.

So last week, in a crazy and wild moment of letting something go, I gave up on cloth.

Because washing each load of diapers six times in scalding hot water is at best questionable in environmental-friendliness.

Because I don't have time any more.

Because I'm not a martyr, and I'm not perfect, and I'm working on being softer with myself.

Farewell, cloth.

Monday, April 12, 2010

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you a terrifically large and hysterical panic attack.

As a responsible and duly prepared parent, I've been readying myself for toddler-hood.  

In my head it goes something like this: 

As we ease into their second year of life, the babies will have learned to talk - in complete and rational sentences.  They will sleep through the night and thus their parents will as well.  Shortly after their second birthday, they will begin to have tantrums.  Their coolly competent mother will respond to these tantrums with a loving, patient, and gracious chuckle.  She will share knowing looks with kind strangers who will sigh wistfully and say things like, "ahhhh.  The terrible twos."  As those strangers walk away, they know they will sleep better tonight, with the understanding that today's children are being raised by such masters of motherhood.  "She makes it look so easy" they will say.  Playful angelic fairies will fly around farting honey.

And now here's what happened in real life:

Toddler-hood came bursting through our front door without knocking.  Swinging and punching with closed fists.  The asshole punched me in the trachea.  My sweet babies woke up one day with the sole desire to point out my utter incompetence as a mother.  I'm not ready.  I have not formulated my tantrum response yet!  I have not mastered the gracious chuckle!  I have been forced to fly by the seat of my pants and it is threatening to tear wide open and show the entire world my granny-panties, which I have peed in twice today already.  I am master of nothing but inconsistency.  Tantrums send me into a tailspin.  My sweet and innocent babes let loose with demonic shrieks I am certain they are wholly incapable of and I will do anything and everything to just. make. it. stop.  And then I realize that I'm likely encouraging my beautiful children to grow up sounding like Veronica from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, speaking with bizarre British accents and saying, "mother, make me more crepes this instant!"  So the next tantrum I respond by ignoring it completely while a tiny voice in my head whispers "refrigerator mother....refrigerator mother...refrigerator mother."    I mentally kick Leo Kanner square in the testicles and hurry into the kitchen to make some chamomile tea before I lose control and just start drinking mouthwash.

I've looked into what it would take to develop a light drug problem to help ease this time.  Am having a hard time deciding between huffing glue and prescription pills.  I hear glue is easier to obtain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Divided we fail babies.

It's been a busy week in breastfeeding news.  On Monday, the journal Pediatrics published a study about breastfeeding, showing that over 900 American babies die each year and 13 billion dollars are spent due to low breastfeeding rates.  Almost immediately, the internet seemed to explode with reactions.  Gina from the Feminist Breeder took the information and wrote what I believe is one of the best analyses of breastfeeding in Western society that I have ever read.  Articles popped up left and right discussing how to deal with the "guilt" that accompanies sharing information about breastfeeding.  Matador Life published a well-written and comprehensive article detailing the ongoing Facebook vs. breastfeeding saga (featuring yours truly...).  I read and I read, and then I read some more.

And now something is gnawing at me.

We have all of this information, all of these analyses, all of this movement.  But I wonder how we will really move forward, how we will really succeed at changing things, when we have a sensitive, fragile, and bitter divide threatening to let us all continue to spin our wheels without ever actually going anywhere.

Here is the issue:  Some mothers breastfeed.  Some mothers do not.  You knew that, I know.  But hear me out.

The CDC reports that 75% of mothers leave the hospital having initiated breastfeeding.  Six months later, that number drops down to 13.6% who are still exclusively breastfeeding.

Although I have a lot of thoughts about what happens to those 61.4% of women, it's not something I want to discuss right here and right now.  It's been discussed - a lot in fact (okay fine.  Quick summary: society bullies them out of continuing.) - and my concern this time lies elsewhere.

My concern is how we all learn to work together.  How we heal the wounds of the mothers who desperately wanted to succeed at breastfeeding but did not.  How we swallow our pride, set our noble principles down for a moment, and respond with empathy to the human experiences of one another.  How we admit that perhaps we all need to do better together.

Here's what's so tricky about all of it.  Although society as a collective whole is to blame for not providing mothers with the support, information, and education they need to succeed in breastfeeding, change happens in individual increments.  Essentially, we are asking mothers to look society in the eye, punch it in the gut, and overcome all of the social barriers that stand in their way - with no more tools to succeed than they originally started with.  It's a chicken and egg dilemma of epic proportions - with human lives and billions of dollars at stake.  Society will not change until individuals change, yet demanding individual change within an unsupportive society is hardly simple.  Hardly fair.

But it is where we are.

The study published in Pediatrics based its numbers on how things would be if we brought that 13.6% up to 90% of mothers still exclusively breastfeeding at six months.

76.4% of mothers is massive change.

We're not going to get there by fighting.

We're not going to get there by blaming one another.

We're not going to get there by standing on soapboxes, getting defensive, or indulging old wounds.

As with any battle, patriarchy has always benefited from the in-fighting of the oppressed.  When mothers fight mothers, it is babies who lose.

I'm not suggesting we hedge.  I'm not suggesting we tiptoe.  I'm suggesting we suck it up, get over ourselves, and work together.

There are nine hundred and eleven babies who are counting on us to succeed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Okay Mark Zuckerberg, let's get personal.

Nine hundred and eleven, Mark Zuckerberg.

Nine hundred and eleven babies die each year in America because they weren't breast fed.

If we go back and start counting at, oh, say 2007, when tens of thousands of women asked you to stop calling breastfeeding obscene, that nine hundred and eleven translates into over twenty five hundred babies.  Dead.

Twenty five hundred dead little babies, Mark Zuckerberg.

Because the mothers of twenty five hundred little babies were not given the tools, the support, or the education they needed to choose and succeed at breastfeeding.

Because when those mothers were little girls growing up, social media outlets like Facebook were busy teaching them that breasts are for sex, and that using them to nurture a child is offensive.

Because our society has allowed the greed of corporate America to sway public opinion into believing that scientifically created formula is superior to the nutritionally perfect milk produced by a mother's body.

I've said it once and I'll say it again.  Facebook is powerful.  You have over 400 million users around the world.  You can make a difference.  You've been asked to help.  You've been asked to change.  Again, and again and again, you have been asked.

Your response is patronizing.

You've ignored us.

You've ignored the calls to change Facebook's policies.  You've ignored the media reviews.  You've ignored your social responsibility to simply do! the! right! thing!  Mark Zuckerberg, you haven't just ignored.  You've failed.

You've failed mothers.

You've failed babies.

By refusing to become a part of the solution, you have remained a part of the problem.

The problem that leads to the deaths of nine hundred and eleven babies in America each year.

It's not all your fault, Mark Zuckerberg.  But it is a little bit your fault.  I would surely imagine that among the 400 million users out there, there has been at least one mother on the fence about whether or not to breastfeed her baby.  At least one mother wondering if she will feel embarrassed to use her breasts in this way.  At least one mother wondering who will support her.  At least one mother wondering if she will get in trouble for feeding her baby in public.  At least one mother who has never known anyone who has breastfed.  At least one mother who does not know how to breastfeed.  At least one mother wondering if others will feel offended by her choice.  At least one mother who gave up.

At least one mother whose baby died.

Mark Zuckerberg, you could have helped her.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Keep on keeping on...

Facebook is waiting for us all to go away.

Supporters of breastfeeding have been fighting against Facebook's hypocritical and discriminatory policies towards breastfeeding for over three years now, and yet Facebook has pretty much been eerily silent on the whole matter.

I find that infuriating. I find it patronizing. I find it unacceptable.

There is too much at stake to move on and accept the idea that the world's largest social networking site declares breastfeeding to be obscene. We cannot slowly dissipate and forget it ever happened. We CAN make a difference. We need to make a difference, because if we don't, it will be our sons and daughters and their sons and daughters and theirs and theirs and theirs who will fight this fight after we are long gone. I don't want that for my children. I don't want that for any children.

I'm not going to go away. I hope you won't either. Facebook can hide, Facebook can ignore this issue, but Facebook cannot out-will the strength or stubbornness of thousands of passionate mothers (And fathers! And babies!) who demand to be treated with respect.

I find it easy to get swept up in the excitement of activism when the energy is high and things are moving fast. It becomes more challenging as time goes by, people move on, and we start to lose focus. It is in these moments of losing focus and moving on that Facebook wins. It is in these moments that patriarchy - a system that is failing humanity - wins.

Forget breastfeeding for a minute. Let's talk simply and plainly and honestly about humanity. People. Human beings. Mothers, fathers, babies. Children. Let's talk about a world where we're not afraid to love and nurture, and where we prioritize the well-being of individuals and communities rather than corporations and greed.

Our passion and conviction over what is RIGHT is stronger than Facebook's passion and conviction over what is wrong.

It's time to continue taking action.

A few action steps to show Facebook that this - and we - are not going away:

1. Use social media to our benefit. Retweet, Digg, and Share on Facebook. (This post, earlier posts, posts from other blogs, news articles, your own words...send the message loud and clear!)

2. Continue to share breastfeeding pictures on Facebook.

3. Write to Facebook. Tell them they're wrong. If you can't find their contact information (good luck...and please share if you do!), make your letter to Facebook public and share it openly with the world.

4. Ask Ellen (and other public figures) to join in the effort to normalize breastfeeding in our culture.

This has gone on long enough! It is 2010! Don't let Facebook get away with telling mothers that breastfeeding is obscene. Do not give up.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Let's talk "sexy" for a minute. Not to each other. I don't know you that well. Let's talk about sexy.

We Americans are rather puritanical. Not YOU. Of course not YOU. But the collective us. We live in a society that functions much like a confused fourteen year old. One minute we're stuffing our best friend's mother's romance novels under our mattress, all the good parts carefully highlighted in neon green, and the next we're sitting in "sex ed" learning that sex is for marriage, and that while some people will break the rules and become lustful much earlier, those will be the folks who end up crying alone in the bathroom stall, pregnant at 15 with a raging case of VD and no place left in heaven for their soiled soul.

It's no wonder that breasts confuse us.

I wrote a post when I was pregnant sharing my joy over the fact that at the tender age of 27, I had finally sprouted some hormone induced breasts. An angry reader recently pointed this out to me, accusing me of being a hypocrite and suggesting that all of "this" (lactivism) has nothing to do with my core beliefs and everything to do with my wanting to "show off" my new curves.

I'm concerned. If I thought this was one isolated view point, I would leave well enough alone. But the confusion over the purpose of women's bodies, the FIGHT over the purpose of women's bodies, needs to stop.

So since this is my blog, and since I am the sole and rightful owner of MY BODY, I'm going to talk about it.

I am a human being. A woman. Sexual. I am a wife. A mother. Strong. Passionate.

I don't want to settle for simply feeling comfortable in my own skin, I want to (and most often do) feel ecstatic in it. I'm not perfect. I'm working to accept the stretch marks left from having babies, but they're new, and I need time. But I know who I am. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I like this person. I love her.

I am amazed by my body's accomplishments of the last several years. My body worked hard to heal and overcome endometriosis and infertility. My womb nourished and grew two beautiful babies. My breasts produce milk to feed those babies. They provide solace to those babies when they are sad. They provide comfort when my babies are sick or hurt. They provide safety when my babies are scared.

My identity, my purpose, extends beyond my role as mother. As much as I cherish, love, and adore that role, I also cherish, love, and adore the other facets of my life. My body accompanies me on every adventure. My breasts do not cease to exist when my babies aren't around. The value and functionality of my breasts does not begin and end with the ability to lactate. The fact that right now, my breasts serve a primary purpose of nourishing babies does not negate or detract from the fact that they are also (GASP!!!) sexual.

For me, that is the beauty of humanity. We are all multi-faceted. Life is not black and white. There are hundreds of thousands of beautiful shades of grey. How sad to go through life trying to force every minute detail into the correctly shaped container. Motherhood, womanhood, individuality, love, lust, sexuality, these elements of who I am rarely, if ever, enjoy a show stopping solo. They are intermingled, intertwined, and deliciously co-dependent.

Empowered women, unite. Our bodies belong to us only. We do not need to look externally for the definition of how and who we should be. Dance if you want to dance. Be sexual, be maternal, be beautiful, be all of those things, be none of those things, or be something else entirely. Wear a push up bra, wear a nursing bra, wear no bra. Celebrate your body, your mind, your spirit, and your soul.

We're human beings. It's messy. Beautiful. Complicated. We can embrace it or not.

I hope that I'll always be brave enough to embrace it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

It goes so far beyond Facebook...

Standing up and demanding that breastfeeding be normalized in our society goes far beyond the issue of whether some people are uncomfortable with the sight of a mother nourishing her child in the best way possible. If this video doesn't give you chills, doesn't outrage you, and doesn't make you question the corporate corruption that too often drives our society, I'm not sure what will.

We need to demand change.

And as a breastfeeding mother who fiercely and adamantly believes that breast is best - I think it is incredibly important, essential even, to point out that this is NOT an attack on mothers who choose not to breastfeed or are not able to. This is an attack on the societal pressures that contribute to an environment where the benefits of breastfeeding are incredibly marginalized and where mothers who choose to breastfeed are often stigmatized, judged, and harassed. Despite the fact that the WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, 2003 CDC data shows that in the US, only 14.2% of mothers were following that recommendation. And did you know that in 2006, the United States had the second worst infant mortality rate in the entire developed world?

Where are our priorities?

A society that surrounds young girls with Barbie and her ridiculous body measurements, where approximately one in four females experiences sexual violence, where breastfeeding mothers are asked to leave public places , and where a major formula company can net profits of over 9 billion dollars a year, I really wonder HOW we expect mothers to choose breastfeeding and stick to it. US hospitals are notorious for giving babies bottles even when asked not to by mothers attempting to establish breastfeeding. I've posted about my own experiences struggling to teach my preemies to breastfeed and the hurdles I ran into with lack of hospital support, and I assure you that I am not alone - not by a long shot - in that experience.

Facebook, I'm afraid, is only the tip of the iceberg. It is simply symbolic of the environment we sit in.


We have to start somewhere. We have to start everywhere.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to be defined by the society I described above. To the core of my being, I believe that we are better than this.

You can learn more. You can help.

  • This earlier post lists things we can all do to are some additions to that list, many of them courtesy of your comments...thank you!
  • Baby Milk Action - helping to protect babies from unsafe breast milk substitutes and protecting breastfeeding
  • Help get Ellen on board - it may sound silly, but we NEED mainstream media support and exposure
  • Offer to become a Roots of Empathy family, or become an instructor. Roots of Empathy brings attachment parenting, including breastfeeding, into the classroom.
  • Offer to visit your a local classroom or daycare as a pregnant woman, and then do follow up visits with the baby.
  • Support the Nursing is Normal initiative: and on Facebook.
This list is a small sampling of how you can help - if you have an idea or know of a resource, please share and I will post.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This post makes no sense unless you complete the prerequisite summer reading, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

I recently joined PaperBack Swap, because I like to read, I like free things, and I like the environment. Win, win, and win. One of my favorite authors is Tom Robbins, and when you consider that my local library does! not! carry! his books, PaperBack Swap is a virtual Tom Robbins mecca. I promptly pulled ten of Kyle's books off our shelves and listed them (part with my own books? I don't know...) to get my first two credits. Within a week, my mailbox was swarming with cowgirls, beets, and insanely large badger testicles. (If you've never read Tom Robbins, I understand how this sounds).

I eagerly ripped open the packages and thumbed through the pages of Still Life With Woodpecker. It was as I flipped through that, as though I myself were the lustful and pleasantly psychotic heroine in one of his books, three tiny slips of paper slid out and onto my lap.

I consider myself to be quite the detective, and probably have missed my calling in life, so I never pass up the chance to do a little digging around when the opportunity presents itself. My three slips of paper presented a fantastic mystery. Each was a slightly yellowed receipt. The first, ink faded beyond readability, had this phone number scrawled on it: 325-0476. The store ink on the second had fared better over time and read:

07-01-98 SOO586 ROO3

Of course I called the number. Of course I was bitterly disappointed that it has been disconnected. I Googled "the wall springfield pa." No luck. The back of the receipt had two numbers written on it in a bouncy, curly, assumingly female print along with the name, Suzin: 659-5851 and 532-4253. I didn't try calling Suzin. Even if I were to assume the appropriate area code, what would I say? Hi Suzin. Did you once give your number to a Tom Robbins fan who frequented "The Wall" in Pennsylvania?...You're not sure?....Who am I?...No, please don't call the police....No, no, I am not stalking you...Just a little detective work...

The third slip is my favorite. Also from The Wall, but earlier in the year, dated 3/24/98. This one has Liz C.'s phone number scribbled on it: 522-7356. Apparently our mystery book sender is quite the ladies man. But perhaps I need to think outside the box a bit more. Because the third receipt also had this scrawled on it:

I'll use a canine
for an airbag
use a gopher for a stool
I'd use a dolphin
for a suitcase
if I traveled with
a pool
I'd use a kitten
for a pillow if it
didn't cause no strife
I'll use my doggie for an
airbag if I thought it
would save my life

I'm not kidding.


And I wonder just exactly what sort of fare was peddled at The Wall back in the late nineties.

But I have solved the mystery. I think any Tom Robbins reader will agree that there's really no other explanation.

Clearly, clearly, Tom Robbins is in love with me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


For the first few months after Rhys and Quin were born, I was certain that throughout the world and throughout history, no mother had ever loved her babies as I loved mine. This thought wasnt a reflection of my opinions about other mothers, it was simply a matter of capacity and an irrational certainty that loving my babies any more than I already did would cause the universe to explode into a hundred billion pieces of sopping, heavy heart. I wasnt prepared for the magnitude of motherhood; the idea that other mothers felt the way that I felt and were able to pull it together and function was completely incomprehensible to me. I looked out at the world, feeling perplexed and at a total loss in trying to make sense of the suddenly re-written familiar. Images Ive seen hundreds, thousands of times immediately took on new meaning. Commercials about the starving children in Africa, news stories about a runaway teenage boy, television dramas about kidnappings and murders. Although Ive always considered myself a compassionate person, it suddenly seemed as though my former self must have been a cold and heartless shell of a human being to be able to stomach these ideas without urgently forming what had recently become my inescapable conclusion: somebodys baby. That is somebodys baby.

As time has passed, Ive become slightly more acclimated to the experience of being a mother. Of creating life and loving beyond the bounds of understanding. I have come to realize that as much as I love my babies, it is not only possible, but in fact quite likely that other mothers love their babies just as much. Initially, that realization stung a bit. Then the stinging turned into an emphatic, huh. And now amazement. What a collective power.

I suppose thats what knocked me off my center in the first place. Human beings. Creating them. Raising them. Loving them. The impact that we make on the world and on one another. Single influential individuals, good and evil. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Hitler. Joint movements for change. The Emancipation Proclamation. The suffragettes. The daily fabric of our world, individual lives woven together in a delicate yet inescapable chain reaction. Its not just about mothers. Its about all of us and all of our actions and all of the beautiful and mundane details of life. But right now I can only speak as a mother. I want to hold on to this moment; here, where I sit and see the magnitude of what I hold in my hands. Two babies, for whom I simply want peace and love and true happiness. Two babies, who make me want to mold the world into a place that welcomes and nurtures and is safe.

I know that in time I may become desensitized. We havent hit the terrible twos yet. I have never attempted to parent a teenager. Just as Ive slowly come to realize that the universe is not in danger of explosion under the pressure of my love, perhaps in time I will feel at ease with the fragility of it all. But for now I am here. Writing to ask myself to remember what it felt like, peering out at the world with my babies wrapped tightly in my arms.