Surviving Mother’s Day…in the Media

Books, Infertility

Copper and I have a morning routine. We get David out the door with a full stomach, coffee in his hand, and lots of kisses; then we settle down in the living room for snuggle time. Copper falls asleep belly-up on my lap while I drink a cup of coffee and watch the local news. It’s a nice way for me to break up the morning between family time and work time. (Once the puppy is asleep, I hit the computer.)

This week, every morning news source I’ve seen opens with news about the royal birth. Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana! The Today Show has already done a segment on your future as a trend-setter. CBS this morning told me just how close you are to seizing the throne for yourself. And my local station couldn’t believe how great your mum looked 10 hours after your birth. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–you’re already everywhere!

In years past this constant coverage would have bothered me a lot. In May 2011 I was alone the entire month. David was traveling Monday through Friday, and he was working at his office on the weekends. I was lonely, and when I wanted to escape my own translation work for a few minutes, all I could find were sitcoms, “reality” shows, and commercials with Mother’s Day themes. An already difficult time was exacerbated as my one place of escape became off-limits.

Survival Tip 2: Control the Flow of Information

I have clinical depression, and while we were trying to get pregnant it was not well managed. Hormones played a huge roll in my imbalances, and I couldn’t take the drugs I really needed to stay balanced because their safety for babies is uncertain. What I put into my body–and my mind–had immediate effects on my moods and my health. I should have been spending free moments with the people who loved me, not have been ruled by my feelings of sadness and fatigue and settled for the TV as a companion.

Anyone who feels punished by Mother’s Day can’t do anything about the physical signs of it all over town, but he or she can choose to cut off the TV, smartphone, computer, and tablet. In my opinion, a hiatus from technology (excepting this blog, of course! 😉 ) can save you from unnecessary pain and force you to interact with human beings who, when chosen wisely, will love and support you when you most need it.

So how do you keep up with the world but avoid the news and commercials you don’t need to see? Comment below with your stories or tips, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of Barren among the Fruitful and a “Be Hopeful” necklace!

Fast-Forwarding to Mother’s Day

Books, Infertility, Restoration

My calendar can’t possibly be correct: is it the end of April already?

Since my last post we’ve moved across the country (again), bought a 1900s Foursquare in a transitional downtown neighborhood, watched bath water rain from the coffers in the dining room, and cut a hole in a master-bedroom wall. All with a basset hound puppy (sometimes literally) underfoot.

Life seems to be approaching equilibrium. After 3 months Chattanooga is less mysterious, there is drywall on our dining room ceiling, and Copper is nearly house trained. What seemed scary has become good: we love our co-ed and senior-adult neighbors, destruction has given way to renovation, and Copper is nearly house trained. It is time that I stop spending my days in crisis-response mode and return to writing.

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Hoping my fur-baby will give me the “Mother’s Day” gift of his being housetrained!

I do so none-too-soon. Forgetting for the moment that backlog of books I have to write, my May calendar is full of Barren-related guest blog posts, radio interviews, and Facebook page hosting. I’m even doing a couple of giveaways. Though no one has said, “We want to talk to you now because it’s close to Mother’s Day,” I know the holiday is the impetus for at least 2 interviews. That makes me nervous.

In the last few years, I’ve read many blogs and articles that blast Mother’s Day. They like to highlight all the ways the day and its celebrations in church hurt women who struggle to be mothers or have lost a child. While I certainly agree that Mother’s Day can inflame fertility wounds and I freely admit to ditching church services on several second-Sundays in May, I am not and have never been anti–Mother’s Day.

Why? Because on Mother’s Day I honor my mother (and do my best not to think about myself).

When I was growing up, Mother’s Day was a big deal. It was the second-most-attended church service of the year (after Easter but before Christmas), and it was one of the few Sundays my family went out for lunch instead of going home to sandwiches. When we’d get to church, the children would be drafted to pass out carnations to all the moms: white for moms whose own mothers had died, red for the mothers whose mothers were living, and yellow for the mothers who had lost children. It was easy to know who got what because all the moms were already wearing white, red, or yellow corsages when they got to church.

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My mom sports her handmade-by-me corsage.

As an adult I’ve enjoyed buying my mother’s–and eventually my mother-in-law’s–corsages. Roses and carnations are the traditional flower choice, but I like to shake it up. Gardenias, irises, daisies, and even orchids have decorated my mothers’ dresses over the years. Sometimes I’ve made the corsage; sometimes I’ve bought one.

About five years ago, we realized my mom was the only woman at her church who still wore a flower on Mother’s Day. Every year I ask if she still wants me to get her one, and every year she says yes! She says that she loves telling everyone how her daughter bought (or made) that corsage just for her. And I love doing it.

So in the coming weeks when I’m asked to talk or write about how Mother’s Day makes me feel and I admit that no holiday does more to remind me of my fleshly desires and wounds, I’ll do my best to remember the woman who gave me life. She deserves no less celebration for the years she sacrificed to raising me just because my own dreams of motherhood have not been achieved. In fact, she deserves more because of the extra love she’s showered on me during my years of pain and miscarriage.

Keep reading Healthy and Hopeful in May for “Mother’s Day Survival Tips for the ‘Barren’ Woman” and a great book-necklace giveaway!

New Year, New City

Community, Spirituality

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a type-A personality. I like calendars and schedules and 401(k) plans. I bristle at change and uncertainty. I’m a control freak responsible adult.

I first realized my control problem when David and I were unable to have children. It took seven years for me to “give” my supposed control of our family to God.

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David’s birthday party at our church with friends and family.

In 2013 we refinanced our house and committed to serve God from our small home in Murfreesboro, TN. We abandoned thoughts of moving to East Nashville and buying a bigger house to fill with kiddos. We decided we could survive in the suburbs long term (although we are both “city people” who prefer mass transit to long commutes and next-door watering holes to chain restaurants). We found ourselves saying it would take “an act of God” for us to ever leave our church family whom we loved dearly and served faithfully and who edified us consistently. We had found unexpected contentment.

Two months later David’s job required us to leave that house and spend the balance of the year living in hotels in the Rocky Mountains. And while we were gone, the fabric of our Murfreesboro life frayed. God “sent out” our Life Group members: all but 2 families have moved to other time zones. Our church split. We had deaths in our families, cancer scares, and even watched an innocent man go to prison. We wondered why God had chosen that time to take us away when we thought we could have been so much help to everyone we loved had we lived in Tennessee.

In 2014 we made the move to Denver. We love Denver. We love the low humidity, absence of mosquitoes, Mountain time zone, 300 days of sunshine, organic lifestyle, and Broncos football (mostly because Peyton Manning “followed us there”). And the mountains–oh, the mountains! Our time here has been restorative. Colorado has quickly become home, and there is no place we’d rather be than here.

It may be new to us, but this beauty was built in 1906!

But we are leaving. Today is our last day in our condo. Today we are packing up everything the movers won’t take, and tomorrow we start the 18-hour drive to Chattanooga, TN, where David has accepted a new job. In Chattanooga we will be fulfilling our pre-2013 dream. We’ve purchased a 100-year-old house in a transitional downtown neighborhood. I’ll go back to my homemaker ways (cooking, gardening, volunteering, ladies-lunch-ing). We’re even growing our family! A basset hound puppy will join our party on January 31 when he’s 8 weeks old.

So I think I’m finally done with making plans and trying to control our future. We are starting to see our Denver years as God’s way of preparing us for this move to Chattanooga. What else could it be? No human would move 1.5 hours down I-24 from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga by way of Colorado.

Meet Copper the basset hound. He has “copper pennies” for eyebrows!

God has used our time in Denver to further strengthen our marriage and to solidify our priorities. We haven’t really put down roots here. We own no property. We were never able to “get plugged in” to a church for various reasons. When we leave, no one will miss us. And strangely enough that’s a very good thing.

We enter Chattanooga with renewed priorities. We look forward to becoming part of a community and having a healthy faith, healthy home, healthy food, healthy finances, and healthy relationships. We give control of it all to God, knowing He has an unfathomable plan when we let go of our own lives.

But I’ll be hiring the mosquito-control company myself next summer. It’s already on my calendar.