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The News Around Here January 7, 2014

Posted by dreamom in Balance, family, Goals, Happiness, Home, Homeschooling, Life, Parenting.
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It has been more than a while since I wrote last – which explains why I have a hard time creating a following…

What’s new?  We have a new baby girly (Sweet P).  She is overly loved by The Wild Man, J-Man, The Little Lady, and The Monkey Man.  It was surreal having her arrive so quickly, nicely at home after the two losses before her.  She has a infectious laugh and the brightest eye, and The. Most. Pinchable. Cheeks. Ever.

Monkey man is finishing grade 8, and looking forward to … ::gulp:: high school next year.  He sees himself as so mature and grown up, but he is still my baby boy in so many ways.

The others are being homeschooled, and it is amazing to walk that education journey with them.  It definitely has ups and downs, but more about those later.

One thing that I have been thinking on lately is that I ENJOY writing.  In an effort to do more of what I enjoy, I hope to write a bit more frequently.  To do that I am going to have to tame the busyness that we get caught up in though.  That is part of my goals going forward.  Writing more, work on photography, create more life balance for the family, and work on publishing my book that I wrote eons ago.

We are off to a rousing start.  I took on a project that took up too much time and had me scrambling all last week, and now we are sorely out of routine while a blizzard rages outside.  It was a snow day for school (people were trilled), and work (people were anxious and upset), and now all the roads in the county are closed, and the temperature is dropping to -20 PLUS windchill.  I think tomorrow might be more of the same…

 

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Milestones March 18, 2012

Posted by dreamom in 1000 Gifts, Faith, family, Fears, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life, Peace, Pregnancy Loss.
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As humans we are drawn to milestones.  There are birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, coming of age celebrations – We use them to measure our lives and accomplishments.  We use them to celebrate and revel in the joy of making it to the next milestone.

Some milestones are not as pleasant to dwell on.  We tend to dwell on them too as we remember, relive, and grasp at the loss it represents.  Recently I was up too late on the computer, and I noticed that the date rolled over to the 2nd of March – marking one month since finding out about the death of the baby in my womb.  At that moment it gave me pause, and I faced with apprehension the coming 24hrs and what emotions that might bring.  I posted on Facebook to mark the event and went to bed.

It was only one month previous that I got the news, I faced head on a very dark time as I faced the loss, made decisions and waited.  I remembered the despair, the confusion, the feeling that nothing was ever going to be okay again.  I woke up in the morning and I was surprised that initially I … forgot.  I intended to take the day as it came, and when I did I found I was not focusing on the pain that I was remembering.  I was moving through my day and I was not pulled back to the place of sorrow and tears.  Instead I was grateful for the distance I had come.  I was thankful that those huge, harsh emotions I felt were not threatening to overcome me again. In fact, I found I had to remind myself of the day from time to time.  At one such point I began to ponder why.  Why am I WORKING to revisit a pain that I am not feeling?  I decided that if I started to feel the pain that I should address it, but otherwise I did not need to force myself back there.

It is now a little more than 24 hours to marking one month since Hannah’s birth.  Again I find that I don’t feel the pain that I feared I might.  I am remembering the joy.  The joy of the support of friends, the joy of seeing Hannah, the joy of moving to the next step…

Today in Sunday morning Bible Study I was reminded of my old stand-by verses:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”  James 1:24

and I also thought about:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Now who would get something for which they consider it a joy (a birthday present for instance), thank the giver, and then a month later think back with sadness, regret, or even anger?  For me this is what this is like.  I CAN look back on various aspects of losing Hannah and find lots of things that hurt, moments of loneliness, words, actions, inactions that hurt.  But why?  Why take something that I DECIDED (it was not a natural inclination, but a conscious decision that required purposeful action to carry out) to “Consider … pure joy”, and take the gift of “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” and set it aside for the sorrow, grief, pain, emptiness, envy, despair, anger, etc. that I would be left with?  I could use it to mark the days.  I could use it to say “See what I suffered?”, but the fact is I can’t.  I have gone there numerous time looking for it.  Expecting it.  I have been told flat out that it is there, but I can tell you that today, and the days I have checked with certain trepidation, that it is not.

I can tell you that I wholly and fully gave all of that to God.  When I was not eating (dare I say fasting), and I was reading the Bible, I was counting the gifts, I was offering *with thanks* the whole experience to God  – something amazing happened.  He did exactly what he said he would do.  He took it.  He gave me a “peace that transcends all understanding” (even mine – ESPECIALLY mine).  I don’t intend to hand that back.  What I do plan to do is that as the days, weeks, months and years wear on I plan to keep giving thanks, for everything he gave me, but none less than the peace I have.  If a day comes where I find those emotions and scars that I expect to find – I plan to do just as I have done.  Consider it joy, give thanks, and give it to God.

As for marking the days that I could – I am not going to try.  I am going to see what days become important.  I am not going to paint them with the brush of loss, but see what gifts God chooses to bestow on those days.  I will not be marking milestones of grief, but rather will celebrate in all that God has given me through this unique journey he has taken me on.

What Is In A Name? February 28, 2012

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Home, Life, Pregnancy Loss.
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Juliet:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

I fear I have to disagree with the great poet and playwright, Shakespeare this time.  With all my other children I can give them a lot of things, but the thing I ponder most seriously are their names.  I make a point of picking a family name – to encourage a sense of history and legacy that I hope my kids will take an interest in and consider.  Secondly I give them a Biblical name for a similar purpose.  I hope that they can take pride in the source of their name and through that find meaning.

In the case of Hannah – a name is all I have to give her.  She doesn’t need anything I can give her at this point.  For that reason the consideration of her name was a most thoughtful one, as it is my only connection to her as the years wear on and the memories of this time in my life dim as they blend into the mosaic that will be my life.

She is the only one of my children without a family name, and although at the time it was a trumping by the Biblical meaning that I was wanting to pull from the moment to represent her, it feels fitting in a way.  She is so special in the way she touched our lives without us getting to know her the way our other kids are known.

The first name I knew I wanted was Heaven.  I had heard of using it as a name before, and liked it, but couldn’t fathom using it.  As soon as I was looking for a girls name I knew this was the child – since with the small exception of 21 short weeks in my womb, that Heaven is the only home she has known.  When I first told my husband that I wanted this name I think he was surprised, and had not considered it a name but was easily won over.  Few other names fit such a small life, really.

We were pondering whether to give this child one or two names, and we quickly settled on the same two names that all our children have.  At that moment I remembered being in a Bible Study in the fall and they were talking about Hannah, the mother of Samuel.  I have always loved the name Hannah, but never found it worked till now.  It wasn’t the devout mother who gave her young son to the priest to raise once he was weaned that I remembered though.  It was the Hannah before that which spoke to me now.

6 And because the LORD had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted?  1 Samuel 1:6-8a NIV1984

Now I realize that with four healthy pregnancies my womb has been anything but closed  This time it was, and much too soon for my liking.  When I first found out that my child had died within me I was downhearted, I wept, and I did not eat for about a week.  It was the deepest despair that I had ever experienced, and I had no idea how I was supposed to move forward.  I don’t regret that.  I needed that time to feel the pain and live it.  I needed to face it and decide where in my life that pain was going to fit.  It was essential in my processing of the situation, and my finding my way to healing.

By giving my daughter the name Hannah I am honouring that part of my journey.  She is the greatest of joy to me, as any of my other children, but she is also my greatest sorrow.  I am tempted to want to forget that part, but the fact is that I can’t forget the pain and heal.  For me healing is acknowledging the pain, and the depth of it, but not letting it taint who I am and my experience with my daughter.  When I say “Hannah” I remember the despair – and I remember the mother that gave her child back to God for the mere honour of birthing him.  Hannah will always be my daughter, but she is more God’s than mine, and always has been.  I did have the honour of birthing her though, and for that I am grateful.

So what is in a name?  Pain, weeping, despair, dedication, perfection, peace, and a home with God.  It is the story of my daughters birth on earth, birth to heaven, and my handing her back to Him who sent her.

Soooo… What was it like? February 25, 2012

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Home, Life, Parenting, Pregnancy Loss.
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I can’t say that I have had this exact question, but the fact of the matter is that this is what I was trying to find out before hand – I wanted to know what to expect – but there was nothing to prepare me.  That being said I am told that it is different all the time, so my experience might be of limited usefulness, but it is not an issue for me to talk about so this is me sweeping open the curtain of this taboo subject and inviting all who have been through this at any stage to comment with YOUR experience – even if you post it as anonymous.  I am being descriptive of the process I went through, so keep that in mind if you think you might find it difficult for you to read…

My Story

Those reading have read a lot about my emotional journey through this, but there is so much more.  Hand in hand with that was the physical aspect of losing Hannah.

The weirdest thing was that prior to finding out from the ultrasound, and for what seemed like a long time afterward there was no physical sign that she was gone.  I had an anterior placenta so I was not feeling movements much by that point anyway.  This of course meant that the news came out of nowhere, and then was almost unbelievable.  It WAS believable though as I felt the loss and grief the hardest during that time.

In actuality is was a mere four days before I had bouts of spotting/bleeding and cramps.  The cramps were rhythmic and at times fairly uncomfortable, so I believed and hoped that it would be soon.  In retrospect I am glad it wasn’t as I had a lot of grieving and processing to do.  Shortly after 24hrs of start and stop contractions they would stop entirely until I took something to induce them a couple weeks later.  The spotting and bleeding didn’t though.  That kept up for the entire two weeks and would result in my being very housebound as I was nervous about the birth suddenly happening while I was out and not in my safe space of home.

Every day I lived with the uneasiness of the birth starting and my not having support with me, and everyday I had a visual reminder that this was REALLY happening.  It was both torture and reassuring.  A true double edged sword.

I tried several emotional clearing and homeopathic methods for spurning on the birth.  In the end I chose that when two of my close friends were with me that I would take a tonic to induce labour – which it did – within minutes of taking it under my tongue.

When they started the contractions were fairly light and not terribly rhythmic.  for reasons which I could not explain, except that life goes on, in that early part of labour my friends and I were laughing and joking around, and it mostly only hurt when a contraction coincided with a laugh.  They got gradually stronger, and were noticeable uncomfortable for periods of time.  They were not as rhythmic as  I was expecting, and they were not as strong as I was waiting for either.  For many hours (about 4) my friends and I visited and chatted and waited for labour to pick up.  It didn’t.  It just rumbled along, and I fought feeling discouraged as I felt the contractions spacing further apart and lesson in intensity.  At that point my friends and I decided that we should sleep as we had been up all night (I took it late at night thinking it might take time to start having an effect).  I dozed off and on – occasionally stirring awake with a contraction just to doze off again.  In the early morning one of my friend’s baby woke up and I woke her up to go nurse her.  The contractions were still coming, but were not rhythmic, and were lighter than the night before.  I was feeling discouraged.

My friends and I discussed taking more tonic, but I was not feeling settled with that decision and dragged my feet doing so.  As the house woke up and my husband and kids were downstairs getting breakfast and starting the day I was feeling antsy.  Suddenly I felt like I had to pee – I went, and I felt I needed to go again.  There wasn’t really anything there, but I would head right back because I FELT like I had to pee.  I came back from my 4th or 5th trip to the bathroom, and I felt a really strong contraction start.  I felt hopeful – this was the strongest I had felt all night!  I tried to breathe out the pain, but it didn’t work, and it was just getting sharper.  I tried shifting my position to manage the pain, and it didn’t work – it hurt so badly I felt cold all over.  My friend glanced at my shifting and moaning, and said “You look a little transition-y”.  I remember glaring at her and saying something along the lines of “I am afraid to say that it is transition or it will all stop again!”.  She asked if I wanted to move to the area I had set up to birth on, and I said sure.  She helped me over and went and got my other friend.  At this point the ‘contraction’ was certainly subsiding.  I was feeling discouraged and thought that I might indeed just nap again.

At that point it got very strange for me.  I didn’t feel any pain, and no contractions, but I had this … urge to breath out deeply.  I thought maybe I was supposed to push, but there was no urge, and nothing to push against.  I looked at my friends and told them I was confused.  I felt my body was wanting me to just breath.  One of my friends looked me in the eye’s and said “Your body knows – just listen and relax.” Then she put her hand on my shoulder, and I felt the tension of the confusion just melt out of me.  I took deep breathes and just breathed them out hard and slow.

Suddenly I felt a ‘spoolsh’, and that was it.  I sat there while my friends checked and it seemed like everything was out.  I just sat there.  I didn’t look down, I just sat.  After what seemed like a long time I needed to pee – for real this time – and I carefully got up as my friend covered the ‘baby’.  When I got back I sat down and my friends and I looked at what I had laboured out of me.

It was amazing.  It was the placenta with the amniotic sack intact.  Even that was incredible.  That was something I had hoped for weeks earlier.  To my friends I had said “I also got an email from someone who told me about her m/c at 12.5 weeks and the baby was born in the sack. It gives me something to hope for – it seems- gentler…” just three days after hearing the news, and now over two weeks later that very wish came true.  I felt no grief.  I felt blessed.  I knew the baby was dead, nothng was changing that – but here there had been a grace – for me.  It was of no benefit to the baby to be born in the sack, but to me it was a blessing, and I basked in that grace in that moment.

As we sat on the bed and opened the sack and discovered the miracle inside I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the wonder in my hands.  Although I would wish a thousand times over that she was still thriving in my womb, it was amazing to see such a small person in my hands.  Her feet were not quite the length of my baby finger nail, and it was amazing.  We gently unfolded her tiny body and marvelled at how perfect she was – despite the obvious effects of that time in the amniotic fluid waiting to deliver.

We took lots of pictures – my husband came and saw her, the midwife came and looked over everything and was pointing out the anatomy of the placenta to me.  A friend had knit a tiny little hat for her, but it was huge, so her hat became her nest and she was nestled in a small box in her nest and her placenta still attached.  It was the perfect farewell after the longest 2.5 weeks of my life.

Once I had showered and got settled in bed my midwife checked my blood pressure and told me sternly to rest as I just had a baby.  I smiled and nodded, and intended to do just that.  The problem is that I don’t FEEL like I just had a baby.  I am not nursing a baby, napping with a baby, or feeling the physical effects of having just had a baby.  Not even afterpains.  I only know it when I have overdone it and I end up needing to rest longer to make up for the lost iron, if nothing else.

It was the most strangely, wonderful, most sorrowful experience of my life thus far.  I still look on her birth as perfect.  I still look on her life and heave a heavy sigh for the moments I thought I would have, but didn’t.  But I DID get to see her.  Touch her.  To see the amazing thing my body was producing.  Shortly after the birth a friend messaged me that her fetal cells are in my blood for the rest of my life.  I looked it up, and it is true!  Hannah’s cells are a part of me, and will do active things in my body that people are just starting to understand – like repair tissue and offer protection from disease.  To me that is amazing.  And a comfort.  I have not lost her – she is a part of me.

I have no idea what the next few months, years, decades will look like, or how this experience will impact them – but I feel ready for it.  I feel ready to see what life after the death of my child will be like.

Do you have a story to tell?  I would love to hear it.  🙂

19 Days February 22, 2012

Posted by dreamom in 1000 Gifts, Faith, family, Fears, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life, Pregnancy Loss.
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This story starts on the day that I found out that my baby had died in my womb. After hearing the news from a midwife I had not yet met, having the OB on call at the hospital near by phone with answers to some questions – she asked if I knew what I wanted to do – I could go see the OB to talk about induction with Mesoprostal (Cytotec) or a D&E (the big brother of the infamous D&C which involves the added step of cutting the fetus into manageable sizes for extraction), or go home and wait for my body to deliver my still baby. The only options that seemed reasonable at all was waiting and induction. I looked around the office at the pictures of developing babies, and at the multiple bulletin boards of people’s pictures with their babies sent to thank the midwives for being with them for their child’s arrival. I said “My plan was always to deliver at home unless it was medically necessary to do otherwise. I still feel like that is what I want. Can I plan on that for now?” No problem. Very reasonable.

In a stooper that was brought on by the axe of grief being applied heavily to my womb, I left. I visited some friends and went home. There I fell into a grief that was wider and deeper than I knew was possible. For a couple of days I did not sleep, for several I did not eat. I went to the Dr, and saw the OB and discussed options and had blood work explained and done – and all of it was in a fog. I had friends all over the world holding a space for me to cry and talk, and vent, and question. From where I am now that week seems surreal – like a dream. Being a ‘religious person’ it was impossible that my faith would not play a role. Much like I believe that God created me, and my body, and the birth process, so I believe that He created the process to clear a pregnancy that is not viable. I decided early on in the process that not only did I deserve the homebirth I had planned, and my baby deserved the homebirth I had planned, but that unless it was medically necessary at some point that God’s design for my body would work, and I would deliver this baby without interventions.

When all this began – in that first week I was sure that this was the worst thing that had ever, and could ever happen. I thought that if I made sure that this experience had a permanent place of being monumental that my baby’s life would matter. It became this cornerstone for my faith that I needed to see through. As people commented and pushed and questioned and ‘expressed concern for my health’ over the choice to wait for God’s timing, and wait for this delivery to happen naturally **unless it was medically necessary to do otherwise** (<< key point here – I kept under the watchful eye of the local OB who was supportive, and dutifully had blood drawn twice a week to screen for problems that might indicate a need to re-evaluate the plan) I became hemmed into the choice I had made. I had people who had made different choices for themselves, or perhaps some weren't given choices criticizing me for waiting. I was risking my life, according to them, and that was not fair to my husband and kids… My mom will tell you that I am stubborn like my grandmother, and all the pressure was doing nothing but strengthening my resolve to see this out. Suddenly my baby's delivery was not only a process for me to go through and accept, but necessary to prove that God, nature, and my body could and would know what to do – and NOT to me, because I *know* – but to all the people I was feeling pressured by – most of whom were Christians themselves.

Throughout this process I was healthy (after I resumed eating) and could do anything I wanted, but didn't like leaving the house much – especially alone. The only thing that anyone could promise me was that the process is not one you can predict – less so than with a full term delivery – so the idea of delivering my dead child in the grocery store, or church did not appeal to me and I chose to stay close to home. This also meant I did not see a lot of people, but the same friends were holding my space and 'hanging out' on Google+ regularly and were my connection to the outside world when the outside world stayed away.

As the days wore on I grieved, I got books to read, planned how to handle the delivery and the body, and everything in between. I revisited my 1000 Gifts book and listed 18 things about the situation at that point that I was thankful for. During this time I made an important decision. As much as this news rocked me, and was challenging my beliefs, testing my resolve, and forcing me to learn things that I would have been happy to stay ignorant about for the rest of my life – I decided that This. Was. Not. Going. To. Define. Me. I had already lost the baby, but that was not WHO I was, but rather just one thread weaved through the fabric of my life. Where that thread was, and the prominence it would have would make no difference to my child – but it would to me. I want it to be there, and special, but not the central thing. Making this decision was a huge milestone in my processing of the whole thing. It had to be. It was up to me how this aspect of my life would affect me, and who I was… It didn't really change anything I was doing, but it changed how I thought about it.

Over the following days I would pick up my friend who came by train from Montreal with her toddler to see me – someone she had never met in person (just over FB and skype) but wanted to be with me through the process. The following weekend another friend from Montreal was coming to spend the weekend and take her home. Over the course of the next week there was much talking, tears, and chocolate, and my resolve was to have this baby with them with me.

In an effort to speed things along I tried homeopathic remedies, accupressure and trying to make sure that I was not mentally holding on at all. All the while praying for my body to release my dead child. I was sure that these things were going to work, but then they didn't. There were signs that it was close – but it didn't happen. I was SO frustrated. The friend coming on the weekend offered to bring something with her that should work that I could use at home, but that I didn't have to use it – she knew I wanted to wait and see this out. I told her to bring it, but that I didn't know how I felt.

Shortly before she got here I had an epiphany of sorts. I realised that I was making the same moment in my life that I did not want to define me, my 'hill to die on'. It was going to prove to me and all who knew me that God/nature/my body works – but NOT define me? Hmmm I had to think this one out. I KNOW my body was working to release the baby, and I KNOW that it was designed to do so when something happened to a pregnancy. Who was I proving this to, and why? The fact is I was proving it to the doubters. The people who were sure that without a D&C (but don't forget that at this stage that is a D&E) that I would suffer from infection and haemorrhage and die were the ones I was determined to wait for. *I* didn't want it to define me. So it came down to am I A) going to do this a certain way for them or B) MY way (cue Frank Sinatra). The fact is that I believe in organic and natural food, but I don't always buy it because of various choices made week to week in the grocery store. I believe in natural medicine, but choose to compliment it with Western medicine at times for different reason's. If this moment in my life was going to be like anything else I was going to make choices like in all those times for what I and my family needed. People would just have to learn to trust God and their body's themselves. This was my journey, and no one else's.

My second friend arrived, we visited some friends, came home and I took a small amount of the stuff she brought in the hopes that it would be the nudge I needed. Whether it was that or whether it was the knowledge that I had done this myself and for myself in a way that honoured my beliefs it began to work RIGHT away. 7 hours later I birthed my baby girl in one piece in the caul. Everything about that birth was perfect for what it was.

After the birth I took my time – I listened to my body and myself in terms of how to move, when to move, when to look at the baby I delivered. I cried oceans in the 19 days leading up to this, but on that day – not a tear. I was ready. I could look at my daughter as a marvel instead of a loss and a hole in my heart. In the moments after the birth I marvelled at HOW okay I was. My friends and I wondered if women who are rushed through the process to end it quickly, if they miss out on that? I think back to Hannah's birth as amazing, wonderful, a release. There is no sadness, no regret. I had who I needed with me and was in my space. I can't think of how I would change it given the limitation of the circumstances.

When I think back to Hannah's life – that is where the sadness is – that I didn't see her take a breath, nurse her, raise her. That is sad. But that is the way it was meant to be for reasons that I can't fathom. I LOVE that amid that sadness – that heaviness of heart – that I can look back on her birth and smile. It was perfect. What a difference 19 days made.

#92. 19 Days

A Pacifist Remembers November 8, 2010

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Life, Parenting, Peace.
1 comment so far

It is times like this when I feel like my inner Old Lady makes an appearance.  Maybe that is because my grandmother was the biggest pacifist I knew.

When I was growing up we would solemnly attend the neighbourhood Remembrance Day Ceremony, and pay respect to the people lost in wars – both in the World Wars, and wars all over the world.  I remember distinctly that the ceremony always talked about the loss of civilian lives as well as the fallen heroes who worked in the military.  I also remember the old shaky voices of the veterans as they talked about the experience of being in war, and imploring us as the future to not let it happen again.  War was not about creating heroes or an opportunity for hero worship, but a horrible, catastrophic event that was to be avoided.

My young child mind took this to heart, and believed that these veterans were begging us to consider the cost of war, and that it was not heroes that came home, but heartbreak.  Add this to the experience of having a very publicly pacifist grandmother, and I became a very pacifist me.

All that was during the Golden Age for Canada, when we were not a country at war.  Now, everything is different.  Some people don’t understand that while people made fun of our military for being ‘wimpy’, they were serving the essential role of “Peacekeepers”.  That was a position to be proud of!  Although we definitely made mistakes in that role, it was evident to the world that we valued Peace, and as such valued people.  Not just the people on the ‘right side’, but the innocent people who lose their homes, livelihoods and lives when wars break out in their neighbourhoods.

Now we are a country at war.  We have an active military presence in countries and we are not there to make peace.  We are there inflicting our brand of justice on ‘the wrong side’, and taking civilians down in our path.  That changed everything.  It changed the way the world viewed us.  It changed the way the people in active service viewed themselves.  It changed the way that we as Canadian lay people viewed the military.  It changed the way that we, Canadians, viewed the world.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the current Red vs. White Poppy controversy.  There is a complete disconnect for people as to what the point is.  As kids we were taught that the colour red was significant because it symbolized the blood that was spilled – the blood that flowed on the ground like rivers to lower ground – the blood that filled the waters of seas and bays, and lakes, lapping on the shore in place of the beating heat that it just left .  There was no distinction of WHOSE blood.  None of it was glory – just loss.  That red poppy is supposed to remind us of the loss.

The white poppy is white to be a reflection of the ideal.  White represents purity, and the absence of the ‘blood’ is certainly the ideal.  It doesn’t suggest that anyone sacrificed in vain, but that going forward we should maintain that purity.  It is a hope that new lives won’t be lost, and that peace will reign in our land, and others.

In reality it is fitting to have both.  The red to remind us of the bloodshed, and to allow us to remember the cost of war on a personal level.  It is in keeping the words of those WWI, and WWII veterans – the ones who implored us to lead the world down a different path so that wars would end, and peace would prevail – that we also wear the white to remind us to work towards peace in any and all situations.

Instead the whole thing has turned into a pacifist vs. veterans thing.  People talk about pacifists as though they are heartless extremists who want to defile the memory of people lost in wars, and sully the experiences of those veterans who came home from wars forever changed by their experiences.  There are ‘Support the Troops’ drives that people are bullied into, or labelled as traitors and ingrates if they feel that it is more about supporting the war than the troops.  There is a stigma put on the white poppy, and now the Canadian Legion is talking of SUING people for wearing or supporting the white poppy campaign.  Really?  REALLY?!  For supporting peace, and for supporting NO MORE OF OUR MILITARY BEING KILLED people want to tar and feather us?

I don’t get it.  I don’t get why the notion of peace is incongruent with supporting the troops and their families, by our interest to GET THEM HOME.  I don’t understand why a girl during the Gulf War was spit on and beat up for having a peace sign on her cheek.  I don’t understand why the RCL is wanting to sue people for promoting peace.  I don’t understand people being upset that you support the troops, but not the war.

This Remembrance Day, as all the others that my children remember I will be supplementing the message they hear at the Remembrance Day Ceremony and will be recounting the words of those veterans I heard speak as a child.  The ones that hoped that their experience was not in vain, and that future generations would be able to live in peace, and that the lives of their comrades were not lost in vain, but resulted in saving others from being lost.

This Pacifist remembers the lives lost, and in response, out of a moral conviction, out of heartbreak, and out of  respect for all those lost in wars – promotes peace.

Heartaches October 13, 2010

Posted by dreamom in Happiness, Life, Uncategorized.
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The heart is a funny thing.  You can feel passionately about a million different things, sometimes CONFLICTING things.  I am an activist at heart – it is in my nature to convince people of the right thing.  These days the right thing is getting harder and harder to find.  Even in the wrong thing there is a right thing, and most certainly a right way – and these days that is overlooked and disregarded.  It is tuff being in the middle.

I had grand plans of this post making sense – and the long and short of it is that it doesn’t, and in an effort to not pertetuate things it won’t.

Let’s just say that there is a lot less space between right and wrong than people think, and that it is hard keeping the wrong out of your right.

Hello. Did you miss me? Hello? Hello? HELLO!!! Nope. No one here. October 10, 2010

Posted by dreamom in family, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life.
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We just got back from the in-laws where we stuffed ourselves with a turkey dinner, and we finished off the day with a supper of pie and coffee.  Yup.  This is Thanksgiving in Canada – and I have not written in over three months if my math is correct – which it might not be, but who cares.

We had a good last few months in Manitoba, trying to make the most of visiting friends, and doing the things that we might have wanted to do after we left.  When I get to sorting out my pictures from the last few months I will try to post on the events.

Things were stressful there for a bit while we debated where we were going to live.  We pondered a bunch of communities, but settled on the metropolis of St. Marys Ontario.  Yup.  You read that right.  No ‘.  There should be I think, but then I didn’t name the place.  Also – don’t call it quaint.  They don’t like that here.  It has most of what you need, as long as you don’t need clothes or shoes, as pointed out by my MIL.  Good point.  There is a nice independent bookstore, restaurants, coffee shop, craft stores, hardware, and pet shops.  Really it is just missing the clothes and shoes.  Hopefully some enthusiastic entrepreneur will read this and decide they want to open a shop for clothes and shoes, and that St. Marys is the perfect place to do it.

The house we are in is a big old farmhouse with lots of rooms and space.  It will be nicer once the painting and unpacking is done, but it is nice to have our own place.  The in-laws (who are now about 10 minutes away) were instrumental in finding this place.  They did a fabulous job!  The landlord is great, and is a solid guy – working himself to the bone to make things right.  There has been lots of opportunity for it too.  Turns out a bunch of wasps found their way into the walls and built themselves a big old nest, and it was a good week long job killing the wasps, getting rid of the nest, sealing their entry point, and fixing the wall.  We are hoping to paint in there this week, and be able to use that room!  The yard is great for the kids and the dog.  Yup.  You heard it.  We got a dog.  Gluttons for punishment.  What can I say?  Lastly I have a clothes line.  I have waited for 6 years for a good clothes line, and this is it.  I wish we could stay here forever, but I will be happy to stay until we can save up and buy a place.  We are praying that Kevin can keep getting work in the area so that we and the kids can just stop moving.  This one really did us in.

Well, it’s been a slice, but I have to run.  I came on to send an email to the BIL, and got distracted.  Hi again though.  🙂

A Resolution September 7, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Happiness, Home, Life, Writing.
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Looking around her house she could barely recognize it.  What were usually familiar and comfortable surroundings, now seemed cold and foreign.  The routines and habits that, although not perfect, always seemed to work to best were interrupted, and new paths to finding balance were proving impossible.

It isn’t like she wasn’t used to criticism.  Besides the fact that most in her position were very used to it – the voice that usually was the most critical was usually her own.  For some reason hearing the tone from others cut deeper, and hurt more.  She would like to think that it was innocent, and that they didn’t realize how they came across.  There was too much water under the bridge to believe that for long.

They knew what the words meant, and they knew how they hurt – but they didn’t seem to know that nothing would change.  It isn’t that she didn’t want to change, and be acceptable – she had tried that.  Over and over, and over again.  No matter what course of action she took, the outcome was the same.  She knew by now that she had to stay true to herself.  Indeed, that was the one thing that she could cling to in times like this.  Yet at times like this she would curl up in bed and wonder how deep the pain goes before it stops?  How much can you hurt before you are numb?  Why was everything she said and did SO wrong, and yet the way they treated her was not?

Although, these questions had no answers – this she did know.  In the morning she would get up.  She would continue to fight to preserve her image as being a worthwhile human being to her husband and children in the face of opposition.  And it would be a cold day in hell with pigs flying about before an invitation was made, or as in this case, an announcement of arrival was received positively.  Well – with the exception of positively NOT!

The Importance of Informed Choice… August 19, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Happiness, Home, Life, Parenting.
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As a La Leche League Leader I end up doing a lot of myth busting in my helping calls and home visits. There are the usual sources – Grandma’s Aunts, people in the grocery store, but many people don’t realize how many myths are perpetuated by Doctor’s, nurses, and people trained as ‘Lactation Specialists’ (as public health or OB nurses with training are called in Ontario…)


This is stemming from the fact that I am sitting here in front of my morning coffee watching baby shows, and trying not to wake the house with my shouting at the TV. People being told to supplement, people talking about how on day two they HAVE to formula feed because they have no milk… (Did I mention TV programs in the source of myths part…). With my newly acquired awareness (perhaps from the coffee? 🙂 ) I realized an important piece.

The La Leche League holds a rotating series of four meetings that address different topics and stages of breastfeeding. The LLL suggests that women attend each of the four meetings AT LEAST once before the birth of the baby. This is often hard to explain to people who are barely showing! With meetings being a monthly event, to attend all four you are starting (ideally) at month 4 or 5! For most women that is not when they are expecting to hang out with the ‘breastfeeding club’!

What I came to realize is that if HALF of the people on these shows had done research, and attended meetings, aligning themselves with a community of breastfeeding parents – that most would not say the things they do, and maybe not choose the option to formula feed or supplement…

Breastfeeding is a fairly publicly acknowledged positive choice for Mom’s and babies. What some people don’t realize is that this pattern of myths and assumed norms is simply carried through from the prenatal stage. With each baby I learn more about the options I have as a pregnant woman, and why things are suggested and routinely done. With each baby I shave more off the list as I learn more about what it is that is being done, and why. That isn’t to say that it isn’t appropriate for anyone, but that I find that things are not appropriate for me and my family.

What I appreciate about midwifery care, is that there is nothing that is done and offered that is off the table. Everything will be explained – ESPECIALLY if you ask. Why do they do this? What do they learn from that? What are your options concerning this? What risks, or risks of risks associated with that. You will get an answer, and usually an option! As someone who had midwifery care for all of my pregnancies I often take that for granted.

Watching these shows, and wondering why people make the decisions they do I realize that it is by making myself informed on an ever increasing amount of topics associated with everything from prenatal care to schooling that I have given myself choices. Armed with information I can choose if I conform to the standard, or if we as a family are going to choose an individual path. Even if you choose mainstream things all families should have an individual path. You will know that you are on a path that is unique to you and your family when you have looked at the options (whether offered or not) and understand WHY you are doing what you are doing, not just knowing what you are doing.

Well folks. That is the fruit of my ranting today… And I thank our midwives for being a source of information and choice for the commencement of our journey into the parenting of each of our little ones…