Where the Bruised Cucumber meets the Sippy Cup!

A Loud Mama with a loud family, living imperfect lives glorified through God and breaking free of the bondage of politically correct Religion. We do things differently around the Viking Homestead, and hope that, by sharing our lives, we can help others feel more comfortable with their differences as well.

23 December, 2013

Why you're a good mom....especially if you think you've got it ALL wrong!

Maybe you're pregnant with your first child.

Me and my beloved coffee
Maybe you're a mom of "only" one or two
children.  You might be a weary mom who
has fallen pregnant unexpectedly.  You may
be a burnt out mom of many children.  Well, 
here's some news for all of you.  You're doing 
something right!  Being a mom is hard.  It's 
incredible, yes.  It's amazing and miraculous and can make you feel wonderful things that you never thought possible.  You will love another person SO much more than you ever thought you could.  Motherhood is also brutal. It will break your heart a million times over with the reality of it all.  It is hard.  It is exhausting. You will find yourself pulled and challenged and dragged in all ways you never thought possible either.  Most people don't talk about any of the negatives(aside from lack of sleep or maybe the lack of intimacy after baby arrives), because they fear that admitting certain things may make them a 'bad' mom.  Nope.  It makes you human, which works out, since you gave birth to humans and so they need a decent human mom.  Sometimes, being a good mom will force you to give up certain things you never thought about, like the idea of what you thought your relationship with your children would look like. When I was 22, I fell pregnant with Little Valkyrie.  I had NO idea what the heck to think or expect or feel.  I figured that life would pretty much continue as usual, with a kid in tow.  Throughout the pregnancy, I heard about maternal instinct and how much women bonded with their unborn babies.  I never felt that way.  There was no wonderful kicking when I would poke my tummy.  She would stop moving every time I touched my bump.  I worried that something was wrong, but also worried that having a baby was a HUGE mistake.  Little Valkyrie would happily kick and roll anytime Cranky Pirate touched my bump.  Once she was born, She would scream when I tried to hold her or nurse her.  If her dad was in the house, she would scream until he held her, then she would happily eat and sleep for amazingly long stretches.  I thought that at some point, things would kick in and I would feel this overwhelming adoration and love for her.  However, she constantly made it clear that, even though I was her mother, that I carried and gave birth to her, that something in our personalities, made that gushy, overwhelming type of love something that was never going to be. I do love Little Valkyrie. Very much.  However, she shut herself off to me, preferring her father, grandmothers and aunt for comfort and bonding.  When I was pregnant with Little Viking, I was worried about the same thing happening.  Fast forward through a stressful pregnancy, and I thought it was happening all over again. Then I eventually realized that it wasn't me.  He simply didn't like to be rocked or cuddled. Of course, now I know that he's autistic, so it explains so much of the odd things that happened when he was a baby.  Add in to that the fact that he spend much of his first 6 months quite 6.  I shortly absolutely fell head over smooshy heels in love with my baby boy.  All of the maternal things I'd heard about were finally starting to kick in, even with my postpartum depression.  By the time he was 3 months old, I'd returned to work, and everything settled into a routine.  Little Valkyrie preferred to spend all her free time with grandparents and while things were hectic, it worked. The house was no longer perfectly clean and plans got disrupted all the time. It wasn't perfect but it was wonderful.  Then, when Little Viking was 2 1/2, I fell pregnant with Little Birdie.  I freaked out.  I remember standing by Little Viking's crib one night early in my pregnancy thinking "what the hell have I done?!  I can't have another baby!  I just can't do this"!  I really felt that way.  I wasn't happy to be pregnant.  I was distraught.  At that point I didn't know Little Viking was autistic.  We didn't find that out until Baby Birdie was 15 months old!  Here I was, newly homeschooling Little Valkyrie, trying to send Little Viking to mother's day out 2 days a week to get a break, and now I was pregnant with a NEW kid when I couldn't even handle the two I had!  How in the hell was THAT going to work out.  Add in to that the traumatic labor and delivery with Little Valkyrie, and the horrible pregnancy I had with Little Viking and I was terrified of how crappy this time around would be, if I even managed to carry the pregnancy(I don't count losses in my pregnancy #s...it's too depressing). I had a hard time finding a care provider and didn't actually a permanent care provider until 20 weeks.  In fact, my first appointment with my midwives was a 20 week ultrasound...where I was referred out for a level two ultrasound to recheck Baby Birdie's heart and get more measurements.  I was already feeling bummed and uncertain and detached.  That news sent me into a massive panic!  What if my baby had a heart defect?  How could I handle a sick baby? or a special needs baby? I really just kind of shut down at that point.  I didn't enjoy being pregnant.  It's VERY hard on me physically.  I can't walk by the end, nor can I drive due to episodes I have while heavily pregnant.  So there I was.  At the level two ultrasound, and the follow up with my midwives, they assured me that everything looked good and the baby looked very healthy.  They were wonderful and very hands off.  At nearly 41 weeks I had my Baby Birdie.  The very second I laid her on my chest, I just looked at her and thought "oh.my.God!  this is is.  THIS is what moms talk about."!  I was absolutely smitten with her, when I was worried that it just wouldn't be possible.  Which wasn't just healing for me, but for everyone. Little Valkyrie and Little Viking love her.  Little Viking calls her "his baby".  He helps her get dressed, and she goes to all of his therapy appointments with him.  I love all of my children more than anything.  Liking them? That's another story. Do I enjoy them? absolutely!  Do I regret having them? absolutely not! Are there some I'm looking forward to going off to college more than others? Oh yeah.  And, I always feel like a huge hypocrite when pregnant...all of the sudden, the kids are living on mac n cheese and cereal while I lay very still and try not to throw up everywhere.  After I give birth, we move on to stouffer's casseroles while I try to feed people and not sacrifice any extra sleep that may afford me.  Right now, as I type this, I have the flu. I've been sick since last Friday.  Everyone decided to spread the love around and Mama Viking caught it last.  We're eating off of paper plates, and I have styrofoam coffee cups.  I also have a sink full of dishes, piles of laundry, and JUST got the Christmas tree up!  I have no wrapping up finished and my kids have been living off of mac n cheese, cereal, peanut butter toast and takeout. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I love them.  I love the chaos.  I'd like a clean kitchen, but I know that's not the most important thing.  Sometimes it's just about putting out the fires as they pop up, and then going from there.  Because, no matter what it looks like, or how odd it may seem from the outside, I do love my children more than anything.  More than I thought I ever could, more that ever thought possible, and enough to let go of what I want, to embrace a relationship that works for all of us.  The perfect house, with the perfect decor, that is perfectly clean, with perfect pictures to put on facebook doesn't equal love. Love is about getting your tired butt out of bed and doing things for your children that you know they will appreciate, or trying to make sure you have their favorite peanut butter, or going to activities with them(even though it does your head it). It's about your intentions and actions. Not some fake perfect only on facebook existence.  So, dear mama's, cut yourselves some slack.  We ALL deserve that!

Much Love, 
Mama Viking

11 December, 2013

It's the most wonderful time of the year, except when it isn't

Ah, the holiday season.  It's supposed to be a wonderful, magical time with twinkling lights, family, parties, good food, Santa, Church events, and so on.  Good times to be had by all.  However, there are many families that just can't get into the holiday spirit.  Moms who, in their hearts, are grieving the spot at the table that should be occcupied by a newborn babe, a rambunctious toddler, a precocious preschooler....that doesn't stop.  Every year gives them pause to think about their baby, their child, what that child would be doing, what might they be like?  Families hurt silently, because no one talks about this.  About miscarriage. About stillbirth.  About SIDS or SUCD(the 'older kid' version of SIDS).  About how time goes on in an almost cruel manner. The days keep coming and going, and you still have to wake up and take care of things, but a piece of you is forever anchored to the day you lost your child.  Part of you can't move forward.  Everything is now divided and defined by life BD and AD(before death and after death).  The holidays can bring devastating reminders of just exactly what you're missing out on.  People become awkward and uncomfortable around you and offer up such gems as "Well, God won't give you more than you can handle", "God has wonderful plans for you", "oh, it's ok, I understand(word to the wise....don't say this!), or(my LEAST favorite) "at least it happened NOW, and not ______(insert arbitrary date at which the death of your child is apparently easier)!!! So, as a service to everyone ahead of the busyness of the season, here are some things you can do and say for families that are coping with loss and grieving through the season.

Things you can do:

  • Offer to take them meals
  • Offer to do holiday shopping
  • Offer to go pick up any 'direct-to-store' items for them
  • Offer to help with the clearing away
  • Ask if they need any specific help, then PLEASE follow through
Things NOT to do:

  • Put away their deceased child's belongings, or, in the case of miscarriage/stillbirth, put away or ask to have anything they purchased for the baby.
  • Get terse with them when they excuse themselves from holiday functions.

Things to say:

  • I'm sorry.
  • I don't know what to say.
  • I'm here if you need me(but be able to back that up).
  • Would you like to talk about your baby(or, even better, use their child's name if you know it).
  • If you've had a loss yourself, then you can ask if they would like to meet up for coffee and talk, or if they would like info about support groups and such.  
  • Remember, their child was a person, no matter how young their child was, they will always feel the ache of that loss.  Don't refer to their baby as 'it'.  The worst thing is thinking that your baby didn't matter to anyone.  Please, address their child by name.  They may cry.  Be compassionate enough to understand why, and console them.  Let them know that you value their child, no matter how brief their life was.  It's so cruelly unfair to lose a child....and then it feels like you get dealt another blow when people refuse to acknowledge your child.  

  • Well, it was just God's will(throat punch)!
  • God has great plans for you....and continuing on through the verse(kidney punch)!
  • God won't give you more than you can handle(temple stab)!
  • Well, at least it happened now, and not when they were_____(I'll rip your heart out for saying this because there is never an age at which it is easy for a mother to lose her baby)!
  • In fact, aside from praying for God to give them peace and the ability to endure this tragedy, leave the God 'sayings' out of it.  I don't think of God that way.  God is my father, my creator.  He is not a celestial bubblegum machine that you put a quarter into and then get your wish.  He's not some magical man in the sky that wanders around granting desires for some, while cruelly snatching things away from those that are the most deserving.  Like any parent, God loves us.  Unconditionally, regardless of our bad behavior. He will lift us up from our suffering, and rejoice in our happiness.  I'm not a great mom, but I love my children more than anything.  I would never LET them get hurt, but they have gotten hurt with me sitting right there with them, because I can't prevent life from happening and I can't protect them from everything, no matter how hard I try.  God would never let one of his children be hurt, but we can't be protected from everything, especially how frail and fleeting life can actually be.  
  • So, at least you know you can HAVE children/when will you be trying again/are you having this baby to 'replace' the one you lost?  There are so many things wrong with all of those, that , suffice to say, the death stare is the nicest thing you'll get!
Also, there are many families that are struggling or mourning with a completely empty table.  They are struggling with infertility and the holidays can be impossibly hard for them as well. Do not tell them you are jealous, or how much fun it must be without children.  The would gladly take your chaos, your minivan, and your permanently stained yoga pants for the chance to hear a child call them 'mommy'.  Also, the pull for a biological child is amazing...the biological clock is a crazy thing.  Don't fault someone for wanting biological children or being hesistant about adoption(especially when adoption can cost crazy money....and the biological parents can back out leaving parents heartbroken). Also, for some, adoption makes itself available in a way that they decide to forgo fertility treatments in favor of adoption.  Do NOT fault them for deciding that they don't need to pass on their DNA and would prefer to adopt!

I know this wasn't a particularly 'fun' post. It's not a fun subject.  But this does need to be talked about.  The holidays can be a constant reminder of what some people are missing out on, whether it's a caring family, friends, and even a child.  We're all fighting, we're all struggling, but we're all in this together.  So, if you're out, and you see a woman struggling to keep it together(or anyone for that matter)offer them a kind word or a cup of coffee.  Little things really are huge and can make a big difference for EVERYONE.  That's what the holidays are really all about!  

Much Love, 
Mama Viking