Do you read Kimberlee over at The Peaceful Mom?  I heart her.  Seriously.  I’ve pinned about a million of her posts.  One of my favorites, though, is about her suggestion to do a brain dump.  While I have yet to actually accomplish this on a daily basis, I thought here in my tiny corner of the web might be a great place to start.  I’ve been woefully absent from this space lately and I miss it.  I have tons of thoughts swirling around on a regular basis but zero uninterrupted hours to make it understandable to anyone but me…unless you count while I’m sleeping.  As much as I like the blogosphere, I like sleep even more!  So, here’s my version of my blogging brain dump.  Most of these are blog post ideas totally unformed into cohesive gold, so be forewarned.

window pregnant (2)

After reading my friend’s post this morning about how many kids and whether they’re done or not, I got to thinking about my unequivocal NO! to more kids.  I admit that occasionally I catch myself thinking wistfully about pregnancy and babies and once or twice I’ve looked for that fifth kid who isn’t here; but really, I’m done.  I know this for many reasons (even though sometimes I change my mind), which include the daily dose of guilt I feel that one of my kids is always getting the short end of the stick.  It’s not always the same kid, but daily, at least one kid doesn’t get enough.

Speaking of not getting enough, I’ve been wanting to write about a shared “first” experience with one of my kids and why that was so special.  We went to a concert together…it was AH-MAZING!  The most amazing part, though, had nothing to do with the concert and everything to do with getting be part of an experience that child will never forget, getting to spend a large chunk of the day focused on only that child (which is rare these days) and just getting to be.  

Having children on each end of a spectrum is fun but also difficult.  Since I have a teenager and a toddler, I am acutely aware of how quickly the intense needs of toddler-hood fade into …. you guessed it … the intense needs of teenager-ness!  And, even though I’m aware of it, I still see myself wishing away these days.  I wish for a few moments of peace in the midst of 2 and 4 year-old chaos and then I turn right around and wish for more time with the teenager or even a return to toddler-hood so I can fix everything I think I’ve messed up.  It’s a strange place to be and I think on it often.

It’s been almost two years since this new little being joined our family.  Each child changes the make-up of a family, but we were unprepared for the many changes that occurred within me after the birth.  My husband and I talk about it…is this how I am now?  It’s getting better, although there are still many, many days I wonder if I can go on.  The anxiety over the little one, the mood swings, the sinking and/or overwhelmed feeling…

Because I think some of the above stems from my previous loss, that brings up another topic.  Loss.  It’s a topic that is always close to my heart and something I feel pulled to work with.  In my work, I hear mothers say similar things…their experiences and grief are in NO WAY the same or even similar, because each grief story is so very personal and intimate, however, some of the things they say during our times together are similar.  Something I discovered recently is that loss comes in many forms for women (and men, too, but my focus is usually on the women).  A dear friend of mine experienced the unexpected and emergent loss of one of her ovaries and while we were discussing it, I heard her say almost exactly some of the same things I’ve heard mothers whose babies have died say.  What a revelation!  This is further proof, to me, that loss is loss is loss when it comes to our children…even the ones that were only microscopic eggs waiting to be conceived or shed.

When I feel overwhelmed, I start thinking about what I can cut out to ease the load.  I (like so many mothers I know) have an unfortunate quality of taking on far too many projects.  It never feels like it when I start them, then they add up to not enough time.  I had the realization during my last client’s birthing time that I just can not continue at the pace I’m going.  Someone is always going to lose at that pace, and more often than not, it’s my family.  I’ll gladly rush to the side of a friend (or even sometimes acquaintances or strangers) no matter how inconvenient, but I snarl and snap at my family’s requests for me.  I love this and hate this about myself.  I love that I have a heart for serving others, but I wish that translated better for my family.  I desperately do NOT want my children writing the next “Mommie Dearest”!

The One Billion Rising event several of my friends and I participated in on V-Day.  It was a very poignant evening for me, and that took me off my guard.  Why was it so poignant?  I’ve been reflecting on that ever since and the answers have also surprised me.  In any case, it’s interesting to note that the sense of safety I have now with my husband is allowing me to ponder other situations where that wasn’t the case.  I think this is a tremendous compliment to him, but it also leads to some frustrating side effects.

Serving vs. helping….is there a difference?  You may have noticed that I generally refer to what I do as “serving” or “being of service”.  I like that term better than helping.  I can’t think of a good way to articulate why today, hence the paragraph being here in brain dump instead of nestled in its own post.  Anyway, serving seems to fit better for what I *feel* like I’m doing, but then it complicates (for me) the issue of payment.  I HATE discussing payment and I HATE charging for what I do because, frankly, everyone deserves to have wonderful me available to them and it shouldn’t be reserved only for those who can afford to pay and I wouldn’t even be able to pay myself so … ugh… I can make my head spin with this subject.  The end result is that no matter how I feel about charging for my services, I simply must.  My family can not survive if I were to doula without charging.  There are costs to me (childcare, gas, food, etc.) that I can not cover.  And yet, it feels wrong. *Sigh*

Inequality….it is glaringly obvious that many of the hats I wear with regards to women and babies and birth and pregnancy and parenting are not reaching or serving anyone in my community other than middle-class white women (or maybe the occasional upper-lower-class).  While it’s important to serve, it also feels important to serve those who need it most and, quite frankly, it’s often not the middle-class and/or white women.  As a white woman, I feel totally inept when it comes to racial inequality.  I get poverty and economic issues, I get single and young mothers, because I’ve been (or currently am) in those places.  However, I’ve never been anything other than white and I fully recognize that I will not ever truly get it because I can’t.  How do I fix this?  CAN I fix this?  How can I be of service to the many women who are in need but going under or un-served?

Zen…labyrinth…my house….sprouting flowers and mold.  The short version is that I have a love-hate relationship with my current house, the love of my fabulous yard and the hate of every.little.thing falling apart or molding.  I made a labyrinth over the winter to encourage me to feel more positive about it and to remind me that even the ugliest things can be beautiful/give us peace.  I spent all day making it and as I sat all zen-like, admiring my work, my kids decided it would be fun to run the length of it.  I immediately got upset and started shouting (my default noise level as well as theirs) about how that was peaceful place and I worked hard on it and they should leave it alone!!!  Um, can anyone say i-r-o-n-y??  Luckily, I got a clue before real harm was done and I turned it over to them.  I showed them the design and we ran around in it for a few minutes, but mostly I just sat watching them delight in it.  It was a sweet moment for me.  Yesterday, I was raking leaves and as my very-neglected labyrinth became uncovered from its blanket of leaves, I noticed tiny little crocus flowers…gorgeous…sprouting up!

So, there are some beginnings of posts for you (me).