Honesty – Reposted with Permission from Dalas at Crunchy Lutheran Mommy

So many people have told me that what they love most about my blog, Crunchy Lutheran Mommy, is my honesty.  That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately… I haven’t wanted to be honest, not on the blog, not anywhere.  And now I feel like I’m in a Dr. Suess rhyme all of a sudden… sigh.  I still have lots of drafts backlogged in my files.  For nearly a month I neglected my weekly pregnancy posts.  I haven’t wanted to take a belly picture because that would mean I’d need to smile for it, and I don’t feel like I can give you an honest smile today.  Or any of the days I might have had time to put up a quick post.

Every time I see someone outside of my own home (which isn’t very often as you might imagine) I get the same reaction “You look so exhausted!”  Here I am trying so hard to put on a joyful, Christ-filled, my-cup-overfloweth countenance and every single person can see right through it.  So much for being a model pastor’s wife, right?  But that’s the truth.  Exhaustion is my truth right now.  Every tiny little activity is exhausting.  Serving my children is exhausting.  Enjoying my children is exhausting.

Every once in a while my Dad asks me “Do you feel like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew yet?”  That’s been his concern this whole adoption, and sometimes it still comes up.  For months I have been saying no, but the question is starting to haunt me like a bad jingle I can’t get out of my head.  And I don’t even have any cutesy music to go with it.  I’m struggling right now.  That’s the only honest thing I have to say, and I hate to say it.  I hate to say it because the last thing I want is a slew of comments or messages or phone calls from people asking me if I’m ok or asking how they can help.  Just my pride talking?  Probably.

Prayer is good, but I know we’re covered in that already, without even having to ask.  So why even post?  Why not just say, we’re going through a tough transition time and I need to take a blogging break?  Why not run away?  I certainly feel like running, but running isn’t going to help me or anyone.  What might help though, is being honest, putting my weaknesses out there for the world and letting ya’ll know I am far from perfect.

It might help other adoptive families have realistic expectations for when they get home.  Did you know that the norm is actually to experience some level of post-adoption depression?  It’s very much like post-partum blues and depression, but even more common for both adoptive moms and dads, and even more complicated because of the deep sadness that naturally accompanies the reality of adopting a hurting child.  Adoption is all about loss.  We don’t like to talk about it much, just like we don’t want to talk about how redemption is all about the cross.  But the one is a living icon of the other, and the picture is poignant.

When we baptize our babies we dress them up in these beautiful white gowns and take family pictures and have a big reception and celebrate it.  Some families remember their baptisms every year (I know we do!) and we linger on the promises and the miracles that have been given to us in our gift of baptism.  But what we don’t see with our eyes as the pastor pours clear, sparkling water over that sweet child’s head is…  the blood, the death.  Because as much as baptism is about new life it is first about death, the death of the person being baptized, the gruesome death of Jesus on the cross.  There is a saying that as Christians we do not need to fear death because we have already died.  We died the death of Christ during our baptism, which means death has no hold over us – just as it had no hold over the God of the Universe.  And there, in the loss and only through that loss comes the beauty and the promise of true, abundant life.

Adoption is also about loss.  Life for these children only comes by means of very deep loss.  Everything that was their life has to die, everything that was meant to have been theirs, that should have been theirs was taken from them.  Only through that reality, can they begin a new life.  But the child isn’t the only one who loses something, the family also experiences loss.  In the end, it will be a blessing to us all.  But right now?  Wow is it hard.  We had a lovely little family.  Two perfectly healthy, bright, beautiful children – a boy and a girl.  Sweet, sheltered, secure little ones… not a real care in the world.  And then we took a hammer to all of that.  We shattered our perfect little family and we changed it forever.

Now we’re a family of broken pieces and broken hearts.  A family where half of our children still don’t understand what it means to have a Mommy and a Daddy.  I overheard my four year old daughter telling a lady the other day that the nannies dropped Hope in her crib when she was in the orphanage.  We try to not talk about things like that in front of her, but she hears and remembers everything.  There is so much her little mind is trying to process: abuse, abandonment, neglect, pain… crushing pain.  Things I never intentionally would have introduced to my four and two year olds, but now they are living those realities second hand by watching us as we try to help their brother and sister heal.

They were away from their home for two months; that was hard for them.  Neither of them have been as secure since that trip.  We spend hours a week in therapy, hospitals, referrals and appointments.  Time I could have been reading stories or making fun crafts or teaching them how to bake.  And us?  We’re exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually from all of it.  Suddenly we are a family with trauma, a family in need of an incredible amount of healing.  Overnight we went from having it all together to picking up the pieces.  Did we choose this?  Sort of, but not really.  Were we expecting it to be hard, even this hard?  Of course.  But just because trauma doesn’t always come without announcing itself doesn’t mean it isn’t just as traumatic when it finally walks through your front door and decides to live with you for a while.

Adoption is hard.  It is inherently loss, not just for the adoptive children, but for everyone in the child’s life.  Beautiful, lovely, miraculous things come from adoption.  But we do a disservice to adoptive families and their children when we overlook where that beauty came from. It came from ashes, ashes that are blown into a home, leaving the family to clean up the great mess that follows.  It’s not pity that I, or any adoptive parent, needs.  It’s prayer.  Understanding.  Support.  We need to know that if we don’t make that phone call or we don’t send that thank you note or if we never reach out for help it’s not because we don’t care about you.  It’s because our families have just been broken, and it’s taking all of our energy and strength to pick up all the pieces.

Sometimes we need you to reach out to us because we can’t reach out ourselves, but other times we just need space.  Sometimes we need respite, other times we just need a meal we didn’t have to cook ourselves.  Sometimes we need to sit and talk with someone who understands, and other times we just need people to stop asking how it’s going.  But most of all we need huge heaping doses of grace and mercy and love.  We need to know that the people in our lives are going to see our crazy, depressed, angry emotional roller coasters and they’re going to love us anyway.

(Just as a side note, if you are a family member or friend of an adoptive parent and you’re wondering why we aren’t asking for help, it’s probably because, especially when our children came from hard places, the kind of help we need is so specific that it would be difficult or impossible to just ask for a simple hand on something.  And if we tried to ask we would either come off as ungrateful or unreasonable or both.  Unfortunately, there are just situations where there is no real help that can be given without a logistical brainstorm involved.  Our children’s needs and our new family dynamics make simple things, like bringing in outside help, much more complicated.)

So here’s to honesty.  Here’s to dispelling the myth that adoptive families are superheroes that don’t need anyone’s help.  Here’s to coming out and saying that just because we signed up for this doesn’t mean we will always have our act together, and just because we “chose” these children doesn’t mean we can’t have a bad day, or week or month… or even year. We are just like you, and just like any family, when trauma kicks off its old, muddy shoes and decides to stay a while… we’re going to struggle.  And we are.

May the Lord, in His mercy, turn our sorrow to joy and our tears to laughter.  May He bring the dawn quickly and banish the darkness from our midst.  May He orchestrate the beauty from the ashes, and give us inclination to focus on neither, but rather to seek His face in this and in every season. Amen.

~~~~~

Dalas is a mother to four with another on the way. She is seriously passionate about motherhood, adoption, being “crunchy” (a fancy way of describing how she keeps her family healthy) and her Lutheran faith. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog, Crunchy Lutheran Mommy. You can read her original Honesty post here.

Dalas

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National Adoption Month Series: StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice

http://www.standupgirl.com

StandUpGirl is a 501(c)3 charitable organization dedicated to providing pregnant or at risk adolescent and young adult women with insight into alternatives to abortion. The mission is to change hearts and save lives by educating young women on the development of the unborn child and alternatives to abortion. Standupgirl.com is a rapidly growing website whose scope is world-wide. We have volunteer “StandUpGirls” who moderate the site’s chat rooms, blogs, forums and respond to emails – from across the United States as well as in Canada, Africa and Japan.

Young women from all over the world are coming to StandUpGirl looking for information about pregnancy. They find educational material, real answers to their questions, and a community of women they can talk to about their unplanned pregnancies. StandUpGirl.com currently has over three million visitors each year, and while it is a great encouragement to see this many young people coming to the site, we are barely scratching the surface of the potential number of visitors on the internet.

Perhaps the most important component of the website is the real-life stories of girls facing their own crisis pregnancies and how our StandUpGirl team provides personal and individual guidance and encouragement to help these women make a choice that they and their baby can live with. The team provides visitors with contact information of local pro-life pregnancy centers where they can get the support and resources they need to journey through their pregnancy. Most guests remain on the site an average of 23 minutes, looking at phenomenal fetal development photography, life-like illustrations and remarkable videos. StandUpGirl.com is one of the most visited abortion-related website in the world! This energetic and beautifully designed website can now be viewed in several foreign languages and the StandUpGirl App can be downloaded from the Android and Apple markets.

stand-up-girl

http://www.loveschoice.com

Love’s Choice was created to take an honest look at the painful beauty of adoption, and to provide tools to help each woman honestly assess the choices before her.

For girls out there that might feel overwhelmed as they try to make the best plan for their child, Love’s Choice is here to help and encourage, providing facts about adoption and tools to help them plan for birth, and either adoption or parenting. And, most importantly, Love’s Choice shares personal stories from real people who have experienced adoption –  adopted children, adoptive parents, and other birthmothers.

We want the girls that visit Love’s Choice to make an informed, confident decision about adoption or parenting. If they choose parenting, we hope the process of answering hard questions will make them a better, more intentional mother.

loveschoice

~~~~~

StandUpGirl and Love’s Choice are not adoption agencies, nor are they in any way affiliated with any adoption placement programs. For more information about them, please visit them at www.standupgirl.com and www.loveschoice.com and on Facebook and https://www.facebook.com/standupgirl.

Made to Mother Project Update AND A Motherhood Monday Link Up

I have been so blessed by all the women I have “met” these past few months, the stories that have poured in and all the people who continue to visit this site, week after week to read these amazing and heroic stories of motherhood. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the women who have opened up themselves and shared their stories here, and thank you to everyone else, as well, for your faithful readership, comments, likes and social media shares. I had no idea back in December when I started this blog just how successful it would become and God continues to amaze me each week as more stories come in.

I have also been so encouraged by the outpouring of interesting responses from the M2M Survey and thought maybe you might like an update on what those look like. Here are some of the answers and data I have received from the 100s of responses to the survey:

Breakdown of types of mothers taking the survey:

Biological Mother 87.50%
Adoptive Mother 12.50%
Foster Mother 12.50%
Step Mother 6.25%
Single Mother 12.50%
Babysitter/Nanny/Childcare/Teacher 25.00%

Other sub-categories of mothers who’ve taken the survey:

Mom of One 18.75%
Mom of Few (2-4) 68.75%
Mom of Many 18.75%
Mom of Babies 43.75%
Adoptee Mom 6.25%
Stay at Home Mom 68.75%
Working Mom 50.00%
Homeschooling Mom 25.00%
Religious Mom 75.00%

Where moms get their advice from:

Friends 87.50%
Mother 81.25%
Sister 43.75%
Grandmother 6.25%
Mentor 31.25%

If you would still like to add your voice, please take the M2M Survey here!

I have loved reading the diverse stories that have poured in, but there are so many I would still love to hear from out there…some of which include:

  1. international and multicultural moms
  2. mommies with 5 or more children (aka, moms of many!)
  3. women who have been surrogates
  4. teenage/young adult nannies or babysitters
  5. stepmothers
  6. full-time working moms (preferably outside of the home)
  7. mothers with diverse religious backgrounds

If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing their story and answering a couple questions about how you mother in the above ways or any other kind of mom story you’d like to share, please email me at wynterkaiser@gmail.com THANKS!

And now for the Link Up!

Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on Facebook.com/madetomother!

MMLinkUp
<div align="center"><a href="http://madetomother.com" title="Made to Mother"><img src="https://madetomother.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/mmlinkupbutton.jpg" alt="Made to Mother" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Grab the Link Up button!

The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

LINK UP GUIDELINES

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!


 

Surviving a Stillbirth at 36 weeks – Guest Post by Taylor Arthur at Red Vine Spirituality

My husband, Jack was traveling the day my sister-in-law, Semmelle, and I excitedly walked into my OB’s office for my 36 week appointment. She had never been to an ultra sound before, and I was so excited to show her a sneak peak of her new nephew. I met her at my mother’s that afternoon, where relatives were still visiting after throwing me a beautiful baby shower the weekend before. My cousins and I had stayed up until late the previous night, unpacking gifts, laundering tiny clothes, and decorating the nursery while we ate chocolate cake and giggled like little girls. Caleb was the first grandchild for both Jack’s and my families. After years of fighting an extreme case of bipolar disorder and wondering if I would ever be well enough to bear my own children, we felt the world was celebrating with us as we prepared to welcome our victory child.

At first, they couldn’t find the heartbeat in the exam room. I became furious with the nurse, assuming she was inept. They brought in another nurse, and she, too, could not find the heartbeat. My OBGYN was called in. We were rushed to the ultrasound room as my OBGYN shouted orders to her receptionist to call her nanny and tell her she’d be late. I didn’t realize that anything could be that wrong until I heard the ultrasound tech gasp.
“What?!” I screamed.
“THERE’S NO HEARTBEAT.”

As I write this, years later, I still cry. I remember begging them to do an emergency c-section, kicking and screaming like a three year-old and my sister’s face covered in agony. I remember leaving with my dead baby still inside me, Semmelle driving me back to my parents’ home. I remember calling my husband’s family, knowing that Jack was somewhere in an airplane, still believing that our baby would be born and live, and knowing that I would have to be the one to tell him we were living a horror I had never even thought to imagine.

Shock makes some people crazy. Shock makes me sane, and I am able to see what is necessary and what is not. I am able to function and choose. I am able to get on the phone with my husband, while he is sitting on the airplane, and tell him his first son will be born dead. I am able to do that because he needs to stay on that plane and come home to me. I laid in my parents’ bed and waited as well-meaning, shocked relatives came in one at a time to tell me they loved me and rub my belly as they had done so many times throughout my pregnancy. I laid in bed and prayed the Our Father and the Hail Mary over and over, because they were the only prayers that I could muster. I asked my mother if she thought I was unlucky. If I was cursed. I prayed Jack home to me, praying that he, too, would not be taken from me.

Jack’s father greeted him at the airport and drove him to my parents’ home. He burst up the stairs to hold me in his arms, and we didn’t care who watched. We wept. We wretched. We held each other all night, knowing that would be the last night we spent alone with Caleb, the child we already loved so much. We gathered up every ounce of courage we had, and we made our way to the hospital. We had just toured the birthing center in our labor and delivery class, so we knew right where to go. Our bag had already been packed, just in case Caleb had decided to come early.

For me, before having children, labor and delivery seemed like a black hole that I would enter, having no idea how I would make my way out the other side. I was afraid of the pain, afraid of the risks involved, afraid that I might die. I had never considered that my child who had been checked and rechecked thoroughly throughout my pregnancy and was certified healthy, could die. And I never dreamed what it could be like to face all of the fears of my first childbirth, knowing that I would have to endure it all only to leave the hospital without my child.

It was a day. An entire, 24-hour-long day. I was heavily drugged, as I had requested, with an epidural that left me entirely numb and very groggy. I spent the day with loved ones hovering over me when I opened my eyes, and kneeling next to Mary at the foot of Jesus’ cross every time I closed my eyes. In both realities, I was in extreme pain, but with my eyes closed I was in the company of Jesus’ Mother. As He suffered, she suffered, and they both held me in my suffering. That day, as I lay in that hospital bed, I felt the most intense love being poured out upon me, into me by pure mother love. In her suffering, she begat love for me, born of physical and spiritual travail. It entered my laboring heart and flooded my chest cavity. This love rested upon me for weeks, as I bore the physical pains of just giving birth without the joy of my baby to help me forget them.

Caleb Joshua was born at 6:27 pm on Wednesday, March 19th, in the middle of Holy Week. Time stretched in front of me like never before. There would be too many tomorrows without him, so now was the only time to not fall asleep with exhaustion or miss one small dimple. Now was the time to make up for a lifetime of loves and hugs, kisses, baths, and songs. Those few hours would be the only ones I would ever spend with my son’s physical form, and I knew that it would most likely be a very long time until we would again be face to face.

He was baptized by our beloved Father Ed and Deacon Bill. I bathed him, undaunted by his already decomposing form, and dressed him in his going home outfit. We took many pictures, but not enough. We held him, our parents held him, and we held him again. Time stood for me. And then, I looked at Caleb’s eyes and they were crying blood. We knew it was time and I handed him to the nurse.

They wheeled me out that night only because I refused to stay the night in a hospital without my baby. I howled from my room to the car, where Jack laid in the back seat next to me until I passed out from exhaustion. I woke up early the next morning in the guest bedroom at my parents’ house. I woke up without Caleb and started to wretch again. My sobs woke Jack up, and the two of us laid in bed and cried ourselves back to sleep.

We did everything we could for our son in the days following his silent birth. I went to the funeral home and picked out his casket, his burial plot. I went to the children’s boutique and bought him his final outfit. When the sales lady asked if it was a going home outfit, I doubled over in sobs. My mother then went ahead of me into every store we entered and told them what was going on and to please leave me alone. I bought myself a hot pink dress to wear to his funeral, and his father a bright orange tie. It was Easter week and we refused to wear black.

The Tuesday after Easter, surrounded by loved ones all dressed in their best Easter clothes, we laid Caleb to rest. Our siblings, his aunts and uncles, carried his casket down the middle aisle of our church while Jack and I walked hand-in-hand behind them. We celebrated his life, as well as the unending life he was already living in heaven.

We have spent the time since Caleb’s death trying to move on. We have had two more beautiful sons and live as joyfully as we are able. But the love for our firstborn son never fades, and my yearning for him has created a deep hole in my heart that is only satiated by my relationship with Jesus. Certainly, the shock and the intense pain have subsided. What is left is an ache, deep and unyielding, gnawing in the background of a beautiful life. I still hang his stocking at Christmas, and his birth certificate will forever be displayed in our hallway upstairs with the tiny prints of his perfect feet. We celebrate his birthday every year by going on a “Caleb adventure,” with his brothers. We look forward to heaven more than ever before, but know our little Lebanite Warrior is in Good Hands, exploring the Promised Land, until we meet again.

~~~~~

Taylor is from Seattle, Washington and mother to Caleb (stillborn 2008), Abraham (5), and Samuel (2), and happily married to her husband, Jack, of 14 years. She tackles mental illness, surviving stillbirth, and caring for her heart warrior, Samuel, in her weekly blogs at www.redvinespirituality.com.

taylor

Unplanned Motherhood: Day 4 – Marleny’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click hereIn order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, so please be warned; their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers.

In December 2011 when I found out I was expecting a little bundle of joy, I was only 14 years old. I was so scared! I didn’t know how to tell my dad that I was pregnant. I knew that he was going to react negatively. My stepmom and I were really close at the time so I went ahead and told her. She promised me not to tell him until I was ready and had everything figured out. I knew that abortion wasn’t an option I don’t believe in abortions. I never have. I was thinking about keeping the baby.

One day I came home from school and my dad called my name. He sounded so mad at me. It turned out that my stepmom had told him that I was expecting. He slapped me across my face and told me that he was upset with me. That he never imagined his baby having a baby. I felt really bad inside. I kind of understand where he is coming from now that I have my daughter. I could never imagine her getting pregnant at 14. He told me that I wasn’t old enough to have a baby and that it was his decision whether I was going to have the baby or not. I told him I wasn’t going to have an abortion and he told me, okay, we will work around it. But he would change his mind all the time. He told me one that that he would help and that I had his support and the next day that I wasn’t old enough to have a baby. My stepmom and I talked about it and she said that I was going to have the baby, to not worry about anything because she was going to talk to my dad. Well, she did and it turned out that he agreed with me having the baby, but that they had to be the legal parents of my baby at the time. I didn’t know if that was true. They told me since I was underage the baby needed to be signed over to their custody. It was really weird that they were telling me all of that. What made it weirder was that my stepmom was trying to get pregnant for a really long time. She was even reading fertility books and it seemed pretty strange to me.

On my first appointment, I went ahead and asked questions about all the legal papers and who would be the legal guardian of the baby. The doctor told me that my age didn’t matter. That if I have a baby no matter at what age, I would be the legal guardian. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why they wanted to take the baby from me, but once I saw my stepmom reading all these books and talking to my dad about all the plans they had with my baby, it all made sense. They had wanted a baby and since they had trouble conceiving, they were planning on taking my baby away from me. I had a big conversation with them about it and they kept on saying the same thing; that I wasn’t old enough and that I was going to have an abortion. I refused to have an abortion and he told me that if I didn’t, he was going to kick me out of the house. So I just left the house.

When I came back all my stuff was outside and I was really confused. I didn’t think my dad was really going to kick me out, but he did. That day my mom came and picked me up. She took all my stuff to her house and we talked. She asked me why my father kicked me out and I told her everything that happened with my stepmom and dad trying to take my bundle of joy away from me and how they were telling me that since I was underage, they had to be the legal guardians of my child. She was mad, but once I told her that I didn’t agree to it and that they told me if I didn’t have an abortion, they were going to kick me out, she was furious. She called my dad and they had such a long conversation. Till this day, I don’t know what she told him. All I know is that she was really mad and that they had an argument about it. Months passed and my dad didn’t talk to me at all, I would see him around but we wouldn’t speak. He was still pretty mad and at that point I really didn’t care because all I thought about was my baby.

I was about five months when I found out that I was having a baby girl. I was so happy. When I got home I showed my mom and she was pretty happy too. It kind of sucked not being able to share my happy moment with my father. I called him but he didn’t pick up. I guess he was still kind of mad.

Months passed and August came. I was excited because my birthday was coming up. On August 3, I turned 15 and I had such a good day. I went out to eat with some friends and went swimming, too. It was a fun day. On August 17, I had such a good day as well. I was sitting down, eating a big burrito and drinking a big cup of pop. I guess I didn’t have such a great diet. I was just there relaxing and eating and all of a sudden I got the urge to pee. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I got up to flush, I realized that it wasn’t pee, it was blood. At the moment I was really scared. I wasn’t having any pain, so I didn’t understand why I was bleeding. I called my aunty and she rushed me to the hospital. I thought I was miscarrying, but I was too far along to have a miscarriage. When we got to the hospital, they asked me if I was in pain and I said no. The lady checked me and told me that I was 5 centimeters dilated. They told me that they were going to take me to a different hospital because I was only seven and a half months along, but that they couldn’t because I was dilating way too fast and they thought I was going to have the baby on the way there. The set me in a room and I still couldn’t feel the contractions, but once I got around 8 centimeters, I started feeling them and they were horrible. I thought I was going to die.

On August 18 at 1:00 a.m. in the morning, I delivered a beautiful baby girl. I named her Isabella. I was so happy. I went through so much just to have her in my arms. We stayed for 3 days in the hospital and got dropped off at home. My dad still didn’t call me to see if I was okay or if my daughter was okay. It was all over Facebook, so I’m pretty sure someone told him that I gave birth. He was just mad and didn’t want to talk to me.

Time passed and when Isabella was about a week old I found she was sick. She had something called Jaundice and was hospitalized for 4 days. It was so boring being in that hospital with no phone, no access to any internet. All there was to do was sit there and watch TV. I was going crazy. They told me that I was allowed to leave, but I didn’t want to leave my baby there alone.

When Bella was released I was so happy I was able to go home with my chunky butt. But then a month and a half later, she got sick again. She started spitting up a lot of mucus and it was coming out her nose at the same time. It got really bad so I took her to the doctor’s office and they told me that she was okay. It was just phlegm and babies spit that out a lot when they are newborns. They told me I should take parenting classes so I would know when things were going wrong with my baby. I knew nothing was okay when I took her back again and they told me the something. She just kept getting worse and worse. One night, she was having trouble breathing and I had to rush her to the hospital. It turns out she had pneumonia. Her lungs were filling up with fluid, I was so scared. My little bundle of joy was going through so much. She had to be hospitalized again because of it. I felt so alone being in and out of the hospital with my daughter and no one would call to see how she was doing. It was only me and her, no one else. I kept telling myself I had to be strong for my baby. It broke my heart knowing that she was sick, but I kept moving forward. I told myself that there is always a storm before sunshine. She got released from the hospital and for once I knew my daughter was okay.

Bella grew and grew. She started getting more independent and started talking, sitting up by herself and eating solids. She is the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Now, I’m 16 years old and Bella is one and a half. I have a job and I assist at a school in Cornelius called Create. Things are going really good for me and Bella. Yeah, it’s hard being a teen mom, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I love being a mother. I love all the hugs, kisses and helloes my daughter gives me every morning and seeing her grow and the cute things she does and faces she makes. At the end of the day, I overcame everything to have my baby girl. I didn’t really have the help of anyone and I was only fourteen. I’m pretty sure anyone can do it.

Marleney

Unplanned Motherhood: Day 3 – Ana’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click here. In order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of bad language, so please be warned; this story, in addition to being choppy, is raw, unadulterated and contains heavy profanity. Therefore, reader discretion is advised.

I would love to introduce myself to you, beautiful person. I am Ana and I am 17 years old expecting a baby and have a one year-old. My advice to you, young mothers and fathers out there is to never give up, have faith and hope in yourselves! You’re not alone in this. I struggle just like you and nobody said having a baby was easy.

As a teenager, I was one-of-a-kind, running around and thinking I can do whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted. I was the girl that hangs out with more guys than girls. I thought that guys bring less drama than girls, which was somewhat true. I always got kicked out of school, did drugs and used alcohol. I used to lose myself doing my thing. Sometimes I wouldn’t even show up to my house or school. I was loved by a few and hated by many! Still, to this day that is a fact in my life and I’ve learned to deal with it.

One day I fell in love with a boy I used to know from my hood, where we both live in Forest Grove. I started to date him and thought I was seriously, deeply in love with this guy that when he asked me to move in with him, I agreed. After dating for two years, I got pregnant with my baby boy. On May 12, 2012 I found out I was pregnant and I was the happiest girl in the world! Me and my man at the time were together and happy . We both were excited to have a baby together. That same day we found out, we went to my parent’s house and told them the big news. They were so happy for us. They supported us through it. By the time I found out, I was already 4 months, so I only had 5 months to go and the next month I would know the gender of my baby. The day we found out we were having a baby boy, my baby’s dad was happier than before.

Around my last trimester of my pregnancy, me and my man were having problems, so I left him and moved back with my parents. Around that time I moved out he still came looking for me, but I didn’t want to see him no more, not even in pictures.  I was fed up with him and his games. I disconnected my phone so he wouldn’t have a way to get ahold of me. I moved on with my life, I was set that I could do this. I always knew that God would not have put something in my life that I couldn’t achieve.  I enrolled myself back in school, stopped doing what I used to do. Not for me but the human being I was carrying inside me and my future. I was still this crazy girl inside but I knew I had to grow up. It took me a lot of time, but one thing I didn’t ever do was give up. I took baby steps. I’ve had my bumps in the road, but I’ve conquered them all successfully.

I got induced and on October 6, 2012 I had Damian. I was the “happiest woman alive!” I am not the kind of girl that cries, but I cried when I saw him for the first time. I remember that day like it was just yesterday. After that day I put my all to my son, till one day I got back to my old ways. I was hurting inside because I had a kid of my own to take care of. I was happy, but some kind of feeling I can’t explain was in me. I had a big bump in the road and I ended up being away from my son for a couple months. My parole officer sent me to a 4-5 month program/shelter home. I missed my baby like no other and it was the hardest thing I’ve done my life. It’s like someone killing you slowly, or worse. I would see him like every week or sometimes twice or on my passes if I didn’t get them taken away. I stayed longer than others because I smoked on my first pass. We usually get a urine analysis the next morning after you went on a pass. I was finding the sad part about this is that I knew what I was putting myself into.

This was a year ago and its crazy how time flies by. I successfully graduated from the Harkins House. Then soon after I got out I went back to detention because I went back to my old ways. I didn’t learn my lesson that easy! I would drink and smoke every day I would show up to school. I would leave my kid at home with my parents to go and do my thing, which is really cold and now my heart aches just sitting here and realizing the fucked up shit I would do to my handsome baby boy. At that point I didn’t give a fuck about NOTHING! I was really selfish, always wanting it to be about me and only me. I didn’t realize that I was not just hurting myself, I was also hurting the people around me. I spent like 2 or 4 whole weeks in a juvenile jail. I didn’t come out of my room. I wanted to be alone and when I put my mind to something I accomplish it like a champ! It took me that long to be alone in my cell, to get everything inside my selfish self. I even had court and didn’t want to go to a rehab where my parole officer wanted to send me to, so I stayed longer. I finally cleared my head up being isolated, thinking and sinking in all I’d been through in the time I’d been out and knew that I actually needed help. I then called my attorney and let him know what’s up with me. He was happy for me, so was my parole officer.

On October 2, 2013 I got into rehab. It was located in the same place but on the other side of the building. I kept realizing a lot of things there as well that I had to do and change about my lifestyle. I am thankful to that place even though it’s not a good place to be. I learned a lot of good shit in there! I’ve accomplished a lot of things up in that place and I am really blessed to have these people taking all bullshit I’ve put them through! I thank God for sticking with me and till this day keeping me sober and being a boss!

I graduated on January 30, 2014 from my rehab program. That’s when my “new journey” had just started for me and my baby boy and family. On March 2, 2014 I accomplished a year and a half being sober! I am Ana and still an addict inside and need help so I attend my narcotics anonymous (N.A.) meetings three times a week. I am the happiest and most blessed woman in this universe! On May 2, 2014, it was 8 months that I have changed my lifestyle and my decisions. I am like a new person, with good intentions, but still got that bad bitch in me! This July I will be getting off my paper/probation. I am so excited, there is no words to explain how I feel about myself and what I have done to be who I am today! One thing I would not change is my life. I believe that everything happens for a damn reason! I have no regrets, I’ve just made mistakes just like anybody in this lovely earth that our Lord gave us. I know that God has a plan for me and I am slowly getting there. This is not even half of my “crazy story,” this is just the top facts about what I’ve been through after I had my baby boy. I thank you all that take the time of day to sit here and let me share a part of my life with you. God bless you all!

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Unplanned Motherhood: Day 2 – Patii’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click here. In order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of bad language, so please be warned; this story, in addition to being choppy, is raw, unadulterated and contains light profanity.

On April 11, 2012 I had just found out that I was pregnant. After a couple days went by I met up with my baby’s dad. I had told him that I was pregnant. He looked at me with a disappointed face. He had not taken the news very well. When he went home to tell his mom, he started to cry and asked her what he was going to do. He didn’t know how to take care of a child and he didn’t know how he was going to raise a child. His mom looked at him and said, “Son, everything’s going to be ok. We are here for you through good and bad.” When his mom was telling him this, his sister came through the door and said, “what?! Who’s pregnant?” He said, “my girlfriend’s pregnant.” She looked at him in an angry face and started to cry. She started to tell him how big of a slut I was and how many boyfriends I have had in school, but yet she didn’t even know me or ever take the time to speak to me. She didn’t like me one bit. I didn’t know why, the only thing I knew was that she wanted him to date one of her friends. That’s the reason why she would always talk smack about me.

After a few months went by my boyfriend and his mom invited me to eat. I went over to their house for dinner. When I was there his sister still hated me and started to talk smack to me saying to his mom, “what is that bitch doing here? Tell her to leave.” Her saying that made me feel awful and I started to cry. While I was crying she was arguing with her mom. Her mom told her to leave the house and not come home until later. She right away said, “I’m just not coming back. I don’t want to see this bitch.” So while she was saying that I got up and left. I felt so left out, I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t want to go home crying and my dad asking why I was crying. So I just went to the park till I got over it. Ever since that day I didn’t bother even going over there. Of course my boyfriend and I would hang out even though it wasn’t at his house. His mom would tell him to tell me to come over, but no way was I going to go over after what had happened with his sister.

When I was 6 months my boyfriend and his mom had asked me to move in. I thought about it and said to myself, “maybe his sister is not mad. Maybe she’s over it already.” So there I go moving in to his house thinking everything was going to be fine. When I moved in to his house I was still enrolled in school. So the time his sister would be there, I would be at school. So I really wouldn’t see her that much but when she would be there when I would be there she would just roll her eyes at me. I would ignore her because at the end it wouldn’t really make a difference in my life. This girl made my life hell throughout my whole pregnancy. But one day she will regret everything she said and did to hurt my feelings, I said to myself.

After I had my baby some of my family members and my boyfriend’s family came over to meet baby Jay R except his sister, of course. She still didn’t like me but I thought maybe by that time I had Jay R, she would grow up and realize that he’s her brother’s baby, her nephew. But same old news, she didn’t go of course because she didn’t want to see me. But it was fine with me; I really didn’t care because I knew that when I go back to her house she’s going to see him and want to hold him. Of course that hurt my feelings and everything but it’s not the end of the world so why worry about it.

When we were on our way home my boyfriend was talking to me telling me to ignore his sister and to not listen to what she says or did. When we got home his whole family was there and as soon as his sister saw me, she went straight to her room. I started to cry because it hurt me for the fact that she knows that he is her nephew and doesn’t even want to see him or meet him for the first time. While I was crying, his mom told me that she was going to get over and I said yeah, hopefully.

So days passed, months passes and a year passed. It took her one year to actually start talking to me. I thought it was so pathetic the fact that she didn’t talk to me or like me for the fact that she wanted her brother to date her friend and not me. But by the time she started talking to me I really didn’t care about her or anything because during my whole pregnancy she treated me like garbage. The only reason why I would cry about it was because I had the baby blues really bad. But by a year, they wore off so I didn’t even care about her.

To this day his sister still hates me but I can care less because she doesn’t buy me diapers, clothes, food or buy my baby girl formula. Yes, I got pregnancy three months after having my baby boy Jay R. Her name is Allison and she is the cutest, most wonderful, awesome baby girl. I love my babies and don’t know what I would do without my beautiful children. All I can say is that I’m one lucky momma and even if I had struggles and had to climb a mountain to get to where I am now, I know any momma can make it with struggles or problems. You just have to keep your mind straight and positive, telling yourself that you CAN DO IT! Because at the end no one helps you change, bath or feed your babies.

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Unplanned Motherhood: Day 1 – Abby’s Story

This story is part of the M2M Series, Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms. To read the others, please click hereIn order to capture the purity of these young women’s accounts and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, so please be warned; their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers.

In spring of 2012 I went in to my school clinic, worried because I hadn’t gotten my period and had been sexually active recently. So I went in and just waited for my name to be called, looking around at all the pamphlets, wondering what all these other students were there for, wondering if they knew what I was there for. When I went in I needed to pee into a cup and they told me it would take a couple minutes. I waited anxiously and then the nurse comes back in and tells me the news I was dreading to hear, not because I did not want a baby but because of what my dad would do when he found out. The nurse said “the test came back” then there was a long, silent pause… “POSITIVE.” Right when I heard that word, tears immediately started rushing down my face from the fear I had of my dad finding out. After I calmed down the nurse proceeded to ask me are you planning to continue this pregnancy as if she was expecting me to say no I’m going to have an abortion. I look at her and I am distraught. I think, how can she even ask that? Of course I am going to keep my baby, I replied. The nurse then asked me are you sure? Yes, I replied. So I went and finished my day out at school.

When school ended I called my boyfriend and told him that I was pregnant. He was very calm and said everything will be fine. After I got off the phone with him I called my sister. As I was telling her I was crying and she was crying, saying how could her little sister get pregnant? We both knew how my dad was and knew we couldn’t tell him, at least not right now. So every day that passed I acted normal, went to school, came home, acted normal and took my prenatal vitamins without my dad knowing of course.

After a few weeks it started getting much much harder to hide because I got morning sickness and was throwing up constantly. I could not keep anything down and was not eating much. At that point everyone knew about my pregnancy already: my little brother, my sisters and my mom, everyone except my dad of course. My sisters convinced me to let them tell my grandma who is a pastor at a Christian church and we all thought she would be sympathetic seeing as how my mom was a teen mom also and what not. But we thought completely wrong. My grandma was the worst person to tell. She started calling me a prostitute, saying that I open my legs to everyone and that she doesn’t want me to go over there and doesn’t want my sisters helping me. How can my grandma can say those things!? She is a pastor! She is supposed to help me. Not only is that the right thing to do but I’m her granddaughter, we are family. How she can do this to me? Soon after that my dad found out and confronted me. I didn’t even know what to say he was so angry. He didn’t even want to talk to me. He had told me that my grandma told him.

My dad talked to my boyfriend’s parents and they came over to talk to me and my boyfriend, telling us how hard it’s going to be and all the responsibility and everything. Then we just went on with our days acting normal. Because of my morning sickness, I was not eating, was losing a lot of weight and I looked really sick. I went to my first doctor’s appointment with my boyfriend and his mom to fill out some paperwork. I was getting really warm and took my sweater off, but I was still so warm. The receptionist was getting ready to hand me some more paperwork when all of a sudden I black out. The next thing I knew a nurse and my boyfriend were holding me up and putting me into a wheelchair. I went into the examine room, they ran their tests and proceeded to tell me I was very very dehydrated, and that I needed to drink water or they were going to put me on an iv. After that my boyfriend’s mom insisted I go to her house all the way in Cornelius so that somebody will be watching me in case I faint again. I didn’t want to, I only had 2 more weeks of school left and I lived in Portland. I couldn’t move with only 2 weeks left.

That night my dad came into my room and said he thought it’s better if I went with Alex (my boyfriend) and his mom. I immediately started crying. I knew my dad did not want me there and he was just using that as an excuse to get me out. I said ok I will move with them. My boyfriend of course was very happy about the news of me moving in. So I went to their house and I missed the last 2 weeks of my sophomore year. Since I did not do my finals, I failed all of my classes. But things were going good at my boyfriend’s house, we got along just fine and things were great but having no money and no nothing was starting to get very boring. I felt very lonely, missing my sisters and hated my dad for making me leave, and even more when I found out he gave all my stuff to my sisters.

Another thing I had to go through was my boyfriend’s parents constantly telling him to leave me and talking about me a lot, saying that I control him too much and that I’m just going to take all his money and leave him. I could not stand being around them. Lucky for me my boyfriend would not listen to them and stuck by me through everything.

Once my daughter Nataly was born and 6 months old, I started working because we had no income at all and my boyfriend’s parents were constantly asking if I could lend them some money. I did not want to do that because they don’t borrow, they just keep and I never see any of the money I lend them again.

The next year was my junior year and I did not go to school because I moved all the way out to a city I never even knew existed. I had no friends out there, and I needed to notarize a paper in order to go to school which my boyfriend’s mom never did. So I missed out on my junior year of school. So summer went by and I worked, but once school started up again I was determined to go. I registered for an alternative school, needing 14.5 credits to graduate, so I started going to school and working after school. It would be a bit stressful at times because my boyfriend didn’t work or go to school but he did get his GED and started to work.

During my senior year something horrible happened. My boyfriend’s stepdad was a drug dealer and he got arrested. Police came to the house and searched through everything. Luckily we were not involved in any of that but DHS started coming and I got terrified, thinking what if they take my baby, what would I do? How can I live without Nataly?! I got so scared and left. I moved to my cousin’s house for a while and then when everything calmed down I went back to my boyfriend’s house.

Now I am trying to graduate by this summer and I am planning to go to college to be a dental hygienist. I may have lost all my friends once I got pregnant but I’m not worried about that. If they were really my friends, we would have kept in touch and I made a couple new friends with kids also. Now I just look at Nataly and cannot even begin to imagine how my life would have been if I didn’t have her. I never once regretted having her. I love her more than life itself and I am so thankful for her.  I have a very good feeling about what my future has in store for me.

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Unplanned Motherhood: Stories of Teen Moms and Motherhood Monday LinkUP #4

I’ve got an exciting series planned for you this week! One of my mom friends teaches a parenting class at an alternative High School Program called “Create” in the little town where I live. Create is a place where students who aren’t able to keep up with the normal classroom routine can finish up their credits with additional support. It’s also a perfect place for teen mothers because of the on-site child care provided.

Outside of class, my friend began to meet and mentor some of the young woman through YoungLives. YoungLives is a fabulous organization aiming to meet teen mothers on their turf, while trying to show them God’s unconditional love and grace through mentoring and monthly activities. For more information about YoungLives or how you can get involved with the program, please visit their website here.

After teaching a class in Parenting Basics, my friend decided that the world needed to hear what these girls have to say and she thought that M2M was the perfect place to do it! When she sent me four different girls’ accounts, I was completely blown away by the passion, heartache and struggle that emanates throughout their stories. In spite of the crudeness in their typing, broken English and their evident youth depicted by their simple and sometimes explicit vocabulary, their tender, young hearts and their love for their children and  families shines through to weave a beautiful picture of the essence of motherhood, no matter their age.

In order to capture and show you the purity of their stories and the integrity of who they are as teenage mothers, I have done very little, if any, editing, including their use of profanity, so please be warned, some of their stories, in addition to being choppy, are raw, unadulterated and may not be suitable for all readers. Despite this, I hope you will take a journey with me this week into the hearts and lives of these four very young mothers, witness their struggles and trials, and get just a tiny glimpse at the pure and powerful love of a mother, in the simplest and almost child-like form.

I hope you enjoy and are moved by them as much as I have been as I post a new one, each day this week, starting tomorrow.

Teenage-Mom

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And now for the Link Up! Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on Facebook.com/madetomother!

Made to Mother
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Grab the Link Up button!

The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

Link Up Guidelines

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!

 

A Little M2M Guest Post Action AND A Motherhood Monday LinkUp

Other than motherhood in general, my all-time favorite cause is for birthmothers. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like and I am passionate about championing birth moms all over the world as often and shamelessly as I can! As such, I have the joy and pleasure to network with, speak at and write for a lot of really great birth mother and adoption organizations. Some of my favorites are BraveLove, Called to Love and most recently, America Adopts. I love to take whatever opportunity I can to encourage, support and defend the cause of birth moms as all parties in the adoption triad move toward emotional and spiritual healing and closure. If you are interested in speaking with me further about adoption and birth mothers, please feel free to contact me at wynterkaiser@gmail.com!

Just last week I had the opportunity to do a guest blog post for America Adopts and I chose to speak on the misconceptions of birth mothers in our culture. Here is what I wrote:

As a birth mom I have my own story and it is unique. I think that sometimes it is easy to romanticize the ideal adoption scenario; a young girl gets pregnant and loves the baby so much that she decides to give it a better home and life than she can offer. But there is much more to my story than that typical, idealized notion. And, frankly, I think if all birth moms were really being honest with you, they would say the same thing.

I grew up in a stiflingly Christian home, church and private school. As a child and teenager I talked the talk, but deep down inside, I desired to break free and live how the rest of the world lived. So, as soon as I turned eighteen, I rebelled; and thinking I was invincible, I got involved in drinking, drugs and fooling around with boys. Eventually, my poor choices caught up with me. I was suspended from school after my freshman year in college and became pregnant shortly thereafter….

{Click here to continue reading over at America Adopts!}

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And now for the Link Up! Please also visit M2M on Twitter @made2mother and like on Facebook.com/madetomother!

Made to Mother
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Grab the Link Up button!

The Made to Mother Project is dedicated to encouraging, supporting and inspiring women by sharing their stories of motherhood. I hope that this link-up will continue to grow our community of mothers. Please read the guidelines below for information on how to join!

Link Up Guidelines

  • Please post family-friendly topics/websites. Bonus points if they have to do with mothering!
  • Be sure to link back to your blog post not your homepage.
  • Share the Linky love – visit a page or two linked up here and leave them a nice comment.
  • Oh, and a link back to Made to Mother using the button above or a sweet shout-out would be awesome, too!