Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sharing a Story

Dear Friends,

I subscribe to a list for individuals associated with lactation (professionals, usually) and the message below was recently posted. I just wanted to share it with you as well:

_ _ _ _ _

Ronald McDonald House asks our family to leave for breastfeeding!
My sister and I are staying in the Ronald McDonald House in Houston because
one of her 17 month old twins had to have brain surgery to remove a tumor
last week. The RMH has been great and we have felt so blessed to find such a
safe and homey place to take care of her other two children and my daughter
while we are here for Tobin's recovery.

However yesterday my sister, who is nursing the twins, was asked to stop
nursing in the communal area of the Ronald McDonald House and to take it up
to her room. She was shocked! After his surgery her son will basically only
drink breastmilk and it is the only thing that eases the constant pain and
anxiety he feels. She told them that it was illegal, according the Texas
state law, to ask a breastfeeding mother to stop nursing in any public or
private place. She also tried to explain to them how inconvenient it would
be for her to take all her children up 3 floors to their room every time her
sick child needs to nurse.

Unfortunately after 30 minutes of arguing, and being threatened with being
kicked out, she was in tears and they weren't backing down. So I headed down
there to talk to the administrator because I am also nursing my three year
old daughter. I even pulled up the state law on my laptop and after a
lengthy discussion the administrator acted as if she was going to examine
the law so she understood it and move on. I thought that was the end of it.

Today I find out they may be kicking us out of the RMH because we refused to
comply with what they call their "interpretation of the law". Their
interpretation is that if they provide somewhere else for us to nurse they
don't have to let us nurse in public places. Since when do laws get to be
personally tailored to an organizations needs?

This is a ridiculous and terrible situation for all of us, I am not sure
what else we will do if we can't stay here but we can't just not nurse our
children. The Ronald McDonald is such a great resource, why do they have to
discriminate against nursing moms?

If you would like to send a letter we would appreciate it. Arlene Whatley is
The Executive director of The Holcombe location of the RMH where we are
staying and one of the people who Jessica spoke to about this. It is Arlene
that seems to be making the decision here. Her email is and her phone is (713) 795-3570.

_______ [end quote]

If you are so inclined, please take action on these women's and children's behalf. Many thanks!

Friday, April 06, 2007

the gap

for parents who know they plan to have more than one child, the biggest question is usually how far apart should we space them? before kids (BK) i always knew i wanted a two year gap between my kids. one year was just too short (afterall i did give up my catholocism) and three years seemed too far apart.

then i had lauryn. tan-tan taaaan! (that's the "doom" music, incase you missed that.)

anyway, i am fighting the urge to state the painfully obvious fact that this was what we like to call "a reality check". it's such a lovely fairy world BK. you have all kinds of plans and dreams complete with the slightly blurred, misty edges to them and then boom. you have the actual baby.

and your world is reduced to:
what day is it again? (actually, forget what day - what TIME is it?)
she needs to eat AGAIN?
she's up AGAIN?
she's got a poopy diaper AGAIN?
she needs to eat AGAIN? ALREADY?
what day is it?

yeah yeah. you get the picture. if you happen to feed your baby yourself, the above questions are peppered with other more critical questions and exclamations like:

is this the right hold?
is she latched on right?
is this the right hold?
is she latched on right?
maybe like this?
ohhh. like this!
wow. that doesn't hurt.

let's not even talk, moms, about the unbelievable "discomfort" in our birthing spots. OUCH! whether it was the tube or the emergency exit - that is some major "discomfort" (translation: mind altering PAIN!)

so then the question of the second child gets pushed out the back door into the dark, dusty storage shed that's conveniently covered up by brush and vines. and for us, the [PLANNED] delay was also about practical decisions: i needed to go back to school, work etc. etc.

then it happened.

oh, you know what i'm talking about. IT. HAPPENED. and we concieved another baby when lauryn was 15 months old. just like i had originally planned and then un-planned. and unto us another child was born. exactly 2 years and 4 days after our first. and for me it was - well - a vacuum. time disappeared. it was all at once stopped yet hemmoraging into space. life was babies, feeding and diapers and no sleep. ever. for a while there, i would say that i truly lost myself. and that was very, very hard for me. in all honesty, the first six months were like being blindfolded, spun around in a strange room and running at full speed into everything. lots of stuff didn't make it. the wonderful ideals that were carved in limestone BK soon eroded into real life sand. enter TV, disposable diapers, KFC. anything at all that looked like a lifesaver ring in my roaring ocean of double motherhood.

alas, this may be construed as a digression. my original intention was not - as it may seem - to bemoan all the ginormous but surmountable odds of having two children in two years (and 4 days), but to talk about how all that is now turning into a vision of a glamorous beach in paradise. note i said a vision.

the two of them are really starting to develop a relationship. playing and laughing together and keeping each other company. (some or most of the time). my secondary role now, i would say is more of a referee than the whole damn team. okay, 80% of the team. (yes 80. when milk starts coming out of HIS nipples, then it might be 50/50). i really can see the benefit of the 2yr gap starting to sprout a little. (i have to rush my closing arguments because i need to get going.)

having had this experience, i still think 2yrs is a great space for long term relationships with the sibs. but i think, in this day and age, the best way (not the only way, just the best way,) is to have full time help. a live in nanny if you can afford it. but only for 2 or more kids. not with one. no offence to parents of one, but after my two - one was a walk in the park. and i do think i would want a third (insert collective gasp here), it would be on the condition that i don't have to work till s/he is about 6 and i would have to have a live in home helper.

in light of these statements, i would like to take a moment to offer my sincerest praise to every mom out there who's doing it alone or "quasi" alone (you know what i mean). i have a lot of respect for you and i take my bra off to you!

signing off to referee some more...