UnorthadoxMomma

A mom who likes to live outside the norm

Archive for the tag “children”

Child Finance

I recently attended a homeschool educator’s conference, and one of the talks stressed teaching your kids personal finance.  We have too many kids entering college who not only have to feed and clothe themselves for the first time, but they are also having to motivate themselves, wake themselves, go to class by their own motivation, and also somehow pay for it all.

Personal finance is barely taught in High School.  But if you start early and they have several years to master their finances and make mistakes when it’s still in the safety of home, they are less likely to wind up with huge financial mistakes as adults.

I remembered my dad teaching me how to manage my finances as a child, so I decided to go visit all the vendors and see what I could find.

I.  Found.  Nothing.

So I decided that I would make something up myself.

PART ONE: MY METHOD

My kids have received an allowance for awhile, but my husband and I decided that it’s time for our oldest to manage his finances more on his own.  This is a scary idea for me, but I’m diving in.

My son is 10 and will be entering 6th grade in the fall.  Since I want him to learn how to fully manage his finances, he will now have a salary starting at $10/week and will be responsible for all his own expenses such as: clothing, shoes, toys, treats, etc.

Since we live in an electronic world, my son will be dealing with somewhat virtual money.  Each week we will enter $10 onto his check register as a “direct deposit”. Any money he receives as a gift or from other earnings can be deposited into his “account” with a deposit slip.

When he has a purchase to make he has these options:
1) He can write a check to cash or fill out a withdrawal slip and get cash directly from me.
2) When we are at the store he can write a check “to the store” and I will purchase it for him and deduct it from his “account”.

The goal of this whole process is for him to start figuring out how balancing needs and wants actually works.  If he runs out of money, he will have to make the choice to go without or find a way to earn more money.  He can decide to buy new or used, to buy all that he wants and wear clothes with holes (this idea has me a little scared), or make his coat last another year.  Hopefully will learn to take better care of what he has once he learns the true cost of his possessions.

PART TWO: MATERIALS

When searching online I had a hard time finding pretend checks.  Check printers won’t print bogus checks, and I didn’t want him using something too childish.  So I created my own!  Since I went through all the work, I thought I’d share it with you.

Download my blank fake checks here.  This file is what I created to make into his own checkbook, check register, and withdrawal and deposit slips.  I kept it in Excel format so you can easily add your child’s name and address to personalize it.  You may need to test print a few to make sure it prints correctly on your printer and format accordingly.

On the first tab are the checks.  So that you can make a book with correct number sequence, it is formatted so that you can change the first check (top and bottom check numbers) and it will adjust the following checks.  I tried to make these as realistic as possible so that it is a good learning experience.
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Print as many checks as you would like to start with, two sheets should work well for each book.  I have them with colored backgrounds.  You can also change everything to white and print on colored paper to save on ink.

First print, cut (I used a paper cutter for this whole process), and stack your checks together:
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You can just stop here and have individual checks, but to have a realistic checkbook you will need a sewing machine.  Stack a few at a time and sew thread-less with your machine.  Warning, this may dull your needle:
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Stack together as many as you think your stapler can handle (I did 10-12), and staple face down to a manilla folder or card stock:
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Fold the card stock over at the perforation and then again at the top, and trim to fit your checks:
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Now they’re ready to put in your checkbook!
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The second and third tabs may be the most difficult step due to formatting, sorry! You will print the first tab and then put the sheets back into your printer so that you can print the second tab and make the register double sided.  You can also skip this step and just ask for a register at your bank branch!
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After you successfully get it to double sided print, cut them out and fold them in half:
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There is one page that has the labels in the middle, this is the page that you will have on the outside:
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You need to cut a piece of card stock to be the same size, fold it in half as well and that will be your cover:
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Staple at the seam and your register is done:
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You can use an old checkbook cover or your bank may have some in stock you can use:
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The Withdrawal and Deposit slips should be the easiest to cut and finish.

These checks can have so many purposes other than using them to manage your child’s finances.  You could also make an economics/personal finance course.  I found a great resource called The Checkbook Project that you could use as a course for your child, I will be modifying it for a co-op class this fall.

I hope you have a lot of fun with this!

 

My Home Birth Story

I feel horrible that my daughter is almost 4 months old and I’m finally sitting down to write her birth story.  There are a lot of contributing factors (and I’ll be blogging about some of them in the near future), but for now we can attribute it to her being my 4th child.

I’m a VBAC mom.  My Natural VBA2C story is here: I Did It!.  After his wonderful birth experience, my husband and I decided to try for a home birth this time around.  And boy, am I thankful we did!

To anyone who lives in the midwest, you’ll know how bad our winter was this year. My due date with this baby was January 4th, 2014. That day came after weeks of early labor signs, modified bed-rest, daily contractions, and pure exhaustion.  But of course, no labor signs on my actual due date.

January 5th came, and along with it, regular contractions and a blizzard.  I texted my midwife to let her know that I felt like the day was today.  The whole snow storm I had fairly regular and uncomfortable contractions, but I took it easy because I did not want to deliver in the storm and make my midwife have to drive in the bad weather.  I made it through the storm, though this poor lady did it on her own.  Thank God she planned a home birth and had everything she needed at home already!

January 6th came and no labor signs.

January 7th around 2am, I woke up and felt my water break.  I texted my MW to let her know, cleaned myself up, and actually was able to go back to sleep for a few hours.

I was awake and restless around 6am so I decided to get up, take a shower, and get on Facebook!  I texted regularly with my midwife to give her updates, and around 7:30 I asked her to come with the bad roads.  Even though I wasn’t having regular contractions, I had a gut feeling (and I’m sure glad I did!).  During all this time, my husband was busy setting things up, and my 8 year old son was my labor coach!  I’d sit at the computer chatting with friends, and when I was having a contraction I’d go up to the counter and rock while my son rubbed my back.  My favorite memory of this was him rubbing my back while my 21 month old son was rocking next to me, mimicking my breathing!

Here's a lovely photo of me at 8:20am, right before my midwife arrived.

Here’s a lovely photo of me at 8:20am, right before my midwife arrived.

My midwife arrived around 8:25, and asked how things were going.  At that point my contractions were between 5-7 minutes apart, irregular, and nothing I couldn’t handle with my 8 year old.  She monitored me during a contraction, checked the baby’s heartbeat, and then I went to the bathroom.

While in the bathroom, I had 2 pretty intense contractions and was so relieved to be sitting on the toilet (and only those of you who have had contractions on the toilet can understand this sentiment!).  When I came out, I noticed that my midwife was not in the kitchen and must be helping my husband get set up in the bedroom.  I then proceeded to have 3 back-to-back INTENSE contractions.  I knew I couldn’t handle these anymore on my own or with only my son.

I made it to the bathroom in my bedroom and had another crazy contraction with the assistance of my midwife.  My legs were shaking so bad that I knew I couldn’t do them standing any longer.  I went into my bedroom and kneeled on the floor, laying over my birthing ball.  I immediately felt my baby’s head descending and called for Allison (my midwife)!

She came, started pulling back my pants to check me, and confirmed that my baby was coming!  My midwife was able to help me get my pants off enough to have access to catch my falling out baby!  To quote my baby brother “I had an accident in my pants, but it was a baby!”

Yup, you can still see my pants around my knees!

Yup, you can still see my pants around my knees!

That picture is timestamped at 9:15am.  Just 55 minutes after I was chatting on Facebook with friends about how I was excited I was going to meet my baby that day!

The best part was my shock at her being a girl!  Even though we were being surprised this time, I had convinced myself I was having a boy.  She was conceived around the time of my grandfather’s death, and her original due date was his birthday.  We were going to name her Horace Albert William after my grandfather.  But she decided she was too cute to be named Horace and wanted to be Lillian Lorraine instead!

Way too cute to be named Horace!

Way too cute to be named Horace!

My mom arrived minutes later (she stopped to get her tire fixed on the way!), and my second midwife arrived a few minutes after that.  They were both surprised at what they walked in to!

I am so thankful that we decided to have a home birth.  God really protected us.  I had grown up hearing the stories of one aunt delivering my cousin in the car on the side of the road on the way to the hospital, and another aunt delivering her baby with an unintentional home birth while the paramedics were on the way.  And while I joined the stories of insanely fast deliveries, at least mine wasn’t in a minivan in 5 degree temps on a partially cleared icy road!

And while the delivery was so crazy and fast that I can barely remember it, the bliss and slow-pace following was heavenly.  My kids were able to come in immediately to meet their sister.  They didn’t even realize what was going on, as I was only unavailable for 10 minutes or so!

We sent them out for a few minutes while I got cleaned up and assisted into my bed, but right away they were back in my room, sitting next to me, cuddling, and involved in the whole affair.

My little labor coach!

My little labor coach!

After we all watched her get weighed and measured, we all snuggled together.IMG_5616

The funniest part is that after all this, they were all ready to move on with their day. Which was perfect, because I was definitely ready to take a nap!

What’s the right thing to do?

So, I’ve been reading more about vaccines, and doctors, and nutrition.  I’m still happy with the decisions I’ve made so far, and am considering more “crazy” ones.  The more out of the mainstream I go, the more I see to change.  But this has opened a whole new set of questions for me.

Mainly: Why am I bringing my healthy kids to the doctor?

But there’s a whole lot of questions and things to consider with this question.  First, if I’m not vaccinating, why am I risking my kids getting sick at the doctors office just to turn down vax and to see how big they’re getting?  I can weight and measure them myself to ensure they’re growing.  I’m already doing so much for them by providing good nutrition…

Also, by not bringing my healthy kids to the doctor, I’m giving the office more time with kids who need it.

Why not bring my healthy kids to the doctor?  “Well-care” visits are free!  But then, isn’t that part of what’s driving up the cost of healthcare?  Labeling well-care as free, when the main purpose is to monitor what parents are doing and vaccinating kids?  And of course, it’s not free.  Taxpayers are paying for it.  I’m paying for it with my premiums…

Then the foster parent in me comes out, and I realize that especially for kids who aren’t in school, well care visits are often when abuse and neglect is noticed.  But, in all honesty, people like me who are stirring the pot by not vaccinating their kids are more at risk for getting Children’s Services called on them for neglect than the parent who is abusing their child or not feeding them properly.

Then alternative parent in me comes out and I realize that doctors are so busy, they barely have the time to come in and check the majors than to notice malnutrition or abuse.  Heck, the neglecters and abusers are the ones not bringing their kids to the doctor in the first place (along with crazy alternative parents that is).

There are so many kids who instead of a proper diagnosis and treatment are prescribed a myriad of psychotropic drugs and other meds.  Sadly, some of my foster kids will be and I’ll have no say in the matter…

Parents, trusting their doctor, don’t know that they can treat these things through proper nutrition, elimination of triggers, and exercise.  Or in extreme cases, find out what is really to blame and eliminate it.

And I’m not trying to shrink illness or disease. I have a family history of mental illness, but I’d rather find out what is really going on and try out nutrition and eliminating triggers than have my kids on a medication cocktail.  And I’ve dealt with depression for most of my adult life, but over the last year and a half when I’ve cut out all the medications, processed foods, and as many of the triggers as I find, I’ve had no instances of “the blues”, even in the postpartum period when I experienced it in the past.

But back on topic.  As a person who was home schooled as a child and plan on homeschooling my children into the future, there’s another problem.  Most homeschooling families are honestly doing the best they can for their kids, providing them with a great and personalized education.  But I know through the experience of friends that there are many kids that are in a cycle of neglect and abuse.  While those friends think there should be much more regulation on homeschooling families (which I honestly think will regulate some great parents out of HSing and scare off even more), they bring up a valid point of requiring annual visits to the doctor as part of their oversight.

While part of me on the inside screams “this is just more useless government regulation!”, part of me agrees that this is protecting kids that can’t speak up for themselves.  My friend as a teenager almost died from neglect because her mother wouldn’t bring her to the doctor because she didn’t want to be forced into vaccination and thought the whole medical establishment was corrupt.  Do I have the potential to turn into that?  I sure hope not.  So while part of me is seriously thinking about not bringing my kids to the doctor unless they are actually sick and natural remedies aren’t working, the other part of me realizes that my sinful human nature can take over.

So what’s the right thing to do?  In a time of insanely rising healthcare costs and doctors not having the time to consult with parents and discuss options and alternative care, skipping “well” visits and researching on my own seems like a great idea.

But then I think about the bad side, and how it could seem like I’m trying to hide something.  Or there might be a parent who has no idea what they’re doing, and take my advice either under the assumption that they’ve done due diligence.  And then the parents that simply don’t care for their children properly.  And the abuser and neglecters.   There are kids that suffer.

But when is oversight too much?  When is enough enough?  Abusers will abuse, and those who neglect will continue.  Is it worth it for good parents to jump through more hoops to prove they’re doing the best for their kids to catch a few more bad parents?  Or will good parents be hurt because those overseeing don’t agree with them and take away perfectly healthy and loved kids and scar them by taking them away?

It’s a topic very close to my heart and it just gives me more questions instead of giving me any answers.

For more reading on nutrition, health, and the medical establishment, a good read is: Why do Pediatricians Deny the Obvious?.

Now I’m angry at Hallmark

Who would have thought a greeting card would make me this angry?

Today, I received a card from Hallmark and Missouri’s Bureau of Immunizations.  The card tells me that “Every Missouri child is precious to us.  Please remember that your baby needs to begin his or her shots by two months of age.”  I received this within an hour of reading this disturbing article: Isn’t your baby’s life worth more than $250,000?  Basically, it talks about how most cases of SIDS are within days of the 2 and 4 month “well baby” vaccinations, and how if you can prove that your baby died of a vaccination, the most you can receive for malpractice is $250,000.  Now I’m not big on malpractice payouts, but $250,000 doesn’t seem like much considering that you have to pay for a funeral and take time off of work to grieve for your lost baby.

Also included on the card is a little immunization record on which I can write down the dates for the 27 individual injections my baby is expected to receive by 24 months.  (plus there’s a little * saying that there are additional vaccines recommended after the age of 2).  I mean seriously, look at all of these: 

And that’s just the injections.  So many are for combined illnesses (MMR) or have many different strains (I believe the rotavirus one has 5).

I think that the pharmaceutical industry is doing an amazing job pushing vaccines.  They have state governments spending our tax dollars.  They have greeting card companies sending out immunization records.  They don’t spend money doing real research on the safety of these vaccines, and they try their darndest to suppress those who have had problems with them.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think vaccines cause autism.  But I sure as heck think they can trigger it if your baby is a carrier for it.  I don’t think all vaccines are bad in all cases.  I just think there should be real safety studies, they shouldn’t all be pushed in all cases on every child, there should be true informed consent, and information on a natural immune system should be given!

So, I went to hallmark.com and searched “for america’s babies” and I contacted them, letting them know how upset I was that they were aiding the pharmaceutical industry in pushing vaccines.  I asked them to instead spend their donations providing breastfeeding awareness and support, which is actually proven to boost immunity and also decrease the chances of SIDS.  If this is something important to you, I encourage you to do the same thing.

Addition:  This page is difficult to access.  Here is a link to Hallmark’s FB page, you can contact them there!  Another great idea is to contact your local governor’s office.  It is actually your state that is paying for this, and they need to know their constituents are not happy with the way tax dollars are being spent! 

And, if you would like to learn more about vaccines, here is a great series from a mommy blogger who did a ton of research on the actual illnesses, their side effects and risks, and info on the vaccines.  It’s a lot of reading but it’s so worth it, she also provides where she got her information.  Modern Alternative Mama vaccine series.  And here is an article interviewing a pediatrician who is an expert in vaccines.

But overall, in anything recommended for your kids, be informed!  Read warning labels.  Research online.  Get your doctors to actually talk to you about stuff!  Yes, diseases are scary, but there are so many things that the pharmaceutical industry is hiding or not researching, like the SIDS link to vaccinations!

Addition: I don’t think this is a reason to boycott Hallmark or anything.  It’s just frustrating that there are so many ways that businesses can donate, and this one decides to jump onto the bandwagon that already does a great job of making alternative parents seem even more abnormal.  I’ll still buy Hallmark cards!

My favorite week of the year is coming!

Grandma camp!  This is the 4th time my oldest will go and the 3rd time my 4 year old will get to.  It’s the best.  My husband and I have often used this week to get big projects done around the house, like tiling the kitchen.  Not sure if we’ll get to anything huge, but we definitely have some small projects to finish up around here.

I’m also looking forward to some quality mommy/baby time.  No worries about rushing him through eating so I can fix lunch, no interrupted naps because the older ones are too loud.  Maybe we’ll find something fun to do just to two of us…I think it all depends on whether this heat-wave lets up.

But I know the older 2 will have tons of fun.  No real bed-times.  Big aunt and uncles to play with.  Going to the pool, playing in the tree-house, playing with cousins.  The best of summer without mommy telling them what to do, lol.  It’s funny, but I think they’re actually better behaved with their grandparents because of the novelty.  I think their grandparents enjoy it too.

I had a great talk with my daughter today

So, my 4 year old has been testing the limits lately.  Not obeying quickly, talking back with attitude, even a few times looking right at me and saying “no”.  I am a believer in controlled spanking.  The Bible clearly talks about using “the rod”, and I believe that is both a guide like a shepherd’s staff but also a tool of discipline.  But that doesn’t mean I want to spank more than necessary, I’d rather get to the heart of the issue and not have to spank at all.

To explain a little further, I believe you should never spank in anger.  I try to always send the kids to their room, calm down, and decide a course of action.  I also find this method makes it seem more serious to the kids and I therefore do not have to spank very hard.  I always reassure that I love them.  I am starting to always use the Bible to explain what they did wrong and give them ways to obey in the future.

But back to the talk today.  This attitude is a heart issue.  So we had a talk about what the Bible says.  We talked about when Jesus was asked what the most important commandment, or rule was, He answered “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself”.  We talked about what that looked like, speaking in a kind voice, sharing, taking turns.  That if you really want something, that probably means someone else probably really wants the same thing and that the kind thing to do is let the other person go first.

Then we talked about how children are to obey their parents.  That means listening when they are talking, answer in a nice and respectful voice, obeying as quickly as you can.  And how parents usually have a reason for why they want kids to do things, and that God gave them a job to do in taking care of their kids.

We finished by me telling her how I have higher expectations now.  That now she knows how God expects her to behave.  How I love her and hate having to punish, and sometimes spanking her.  Now that she knows why she needs to act kindly she gets one reminder or there will be consequences.

I’m hoping that by getting to the heart of the matter, it will diminish the behavior.  But I think the main goal should also be: where my heart is in dealing with these things.  Am I being lazy, am I angry, am I delaying consequences because I don’t want to deal with it?  By dealing with my heart and actions, I am modeling the behavior I expect in my children.

My “favorite” part of foster parenting…

…is skipping a decade in parenting skills.  My oldest birth child is 6, my oldest foster child is 16!  Thankfully she’s respectful, responsible and very sweet.  If I had gone through what she has I would be angry, bitter, and untrusting.

But to go back a bit.  This weekend we had one of our former placements, a sweet special needs 15 year old stay with us for the weekend.  He’s been reunited with his grandparents, but it worked out well with his spring break to let them get a bit of a break and him to come stay with us.  He was our very first placement.  We got the call to ask if he could stay with us 2 weeks after we found out we were expecting #3.  I thought, “Oh my goodness, I’ll be the parent of a teenager, at 29!”.

In his case, yes I was the parent of a physical 15 year old, but in most ways (except hormonally), he’s between the age of 8-12.  He was a wonderful fit with our family.  His favorite toys to play with are the same as my son’s.  He loves video games, action figures and Veggie Tales.  He bonded well with the whole, extended family.  Even though with his special needs there were extra challenges, we were really thinking about pursuing permanent guardianship.

And in the four months he lived with us, he went from performing at a K-1st grade level at school to a 2nd-3rd grade level in some subjects.  I think it was a combination of a safe and structured environment, help and encouragement at home, and wonderful teachers.  We also helped him learn to interact more, answer questions and learn responsibility.

It was with a mixture of sadness and joy on our whole family that he left our home to stay with his grandparents.  There were many concerns we had as far as his needs and development that seem to be coming true, but at least he’s with family.  That’s one of the hardest parts of foster parenting.  The goal is reuniting with the family, but sometimes these kids could do so much better elsewhere.  Thankfully in his case, his grandparents live close to our church and we get to see him on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.  We also get to eat lunch with him and his grandparents almost every Sunday.  We’re hoping that one day soon they may actually stay for church with us too.  We’re settling into a role more like an Aunt and Uncle with him, seeing him regularly, talking to grandma on the phone, visiting each other, and him getting to occasionally spend the night (like this weekend).

But enter a “real” teenager.  Though sadly, like many of the kids in the system, she’s not a “real” teenager either.  She’s very intelligent and responsible, so that’s not the issue.  Basically, her history and all of the things that come along with it has robbed her of childhood.  I’m just so glad that even with a 6 and 4 year old with another on the way in a few weeks, we’re able to provide her with a safe place.  Poor thing, she has to share a room with my 4 year old, but thankfully my daughter is pretty good at giving her privacy and we have a great play room, so my daughter really only sleeps in there.  And my wonderful children are so giving, that they don’t feel a loss of their room or hold a grudge, they’re just so happy that someone else is able to stay with us!  (This is honestly the main reason we decided to start fostering while our children are young, so that it’s normal to give of what we have and to focus on someone else).

The hard part for me is figuring out what role to take in this case.  I’ve told her that I in no way intend to step in and replace her mom.  I envision myself more of an aunt, a friend and an authority figure, and this is how I explained it to her.  And after 4 weeks, we’re finally settling in to a routine.  She’s bringing me her completed homework, we’re starting to add some responsibility around the house, and she’s even babysat for us so that my DH and I could get a night out!  And as I said before, she’s very quiet and responsible so I haven’t had to lay down hard rules or consequences, but I’m kind of worried about the day when she feels comfortable enough to truly turn on the teenager and we have a real confrontation or I have to lay down some major boundaries.

And overall, I’m just thankful that we go to a wonderful church with a great youth group.  The kids there have really been open and welcoming, and she’s part of the group.  And I have many resources between the youth pastor, other parents at our church, and our parents (especially my in-laws, they have 14 and 15 year old adopted sons).  I’m hoping that if there is any major parent/teen confrontation, I can quickly find out the best course of action.

Thankfully, parenting is parenting no matter what the age…it’s just a lot harder to step in after 16  (or 6) years.  So much of it is reading and knowing your kids, so that is really the hardest part of the whole fostering world.

Even with the crazy jumps of a 15yo special needs kid, to a premie baby on oxygen, to a 6yo boy who was way too much for me to handle while pregnant with young ones of my own, to now a fully fledged teenager, I can see God’s hand in each placement.  (Granted, the only thing I can see with the 6yo at this stage is “use wisdom and discernment when deciding on taking a placement!”)  These are all wonderful kids who’ve been through some horrible things.  And even though we’re basically flat broke, we’re able to make it work and be a blessing to kids who could be in group homes or being bounced around if we weren’t there.  And these kids have been a blessing to me too, despite the extra laundry, cooking, trips and visits.  I’m looking forward to the day when one of these kids not only clicks with our family as most have done so far, but is also open for us to be able to make a permanent member of our family.  I’m really wanting to order my “Proud to be a foster and adoptive family” bumper sticker…

There’s nothing worse than laying awake with your brain running…

So part of this is in response to some people not understanding some of the big changes I’ve decided to make.  By no means am I trying to say what I did in the past was WRONG, but I do feel like when you have more information, you should use it.  And, just because you can learn from your mistakes doesn’t mean what you get out of it was a mistake.

Let me start out by saying that I LOVE MY KIDS.  I’m so thankful for them, and thankful for everything that shapes who they are.  But I really wish that I’d been given the information THEN that I have researched and have NOW.  I wish I had the Dr with them that I have now.  To go through the same motions now when I have more information and better resources just seems wrong.  Plus, there is added risk to me and my baby by repeating the same thing again.

So I’ve laid the foundation, now to explain and build on that.  To start with a little background.  I’m not a historian, a doctor or a scientist, but thankfully with the internet I can research what people who know these fields have studied and found.  And I’m just touching the surface of things here.

The woman’s movement of the early 20th century brought us many wonderful things: the right to vote, access to better jobs, and access to safer childbirth.  But there were many problems that came out of this too.  In the cause of woman’s rights, children’s value has decreased.  A child in the womb is not viewed as a person.  And while a career can be a wonderful thing, in some cases it is put at a higher value than one’s marriage, children, and family (I am guilty of this!).

One of the worst results of the woman’s movement (after the devaluing of the life of a child) that I have seen is how it has affected childbirth in the western world, the devaluing of natural birth.  In Genesis, Eve was “cursed” with pain in childbirth.  One of the goals of the women’s movement was “undo” this curse.  Early results were techniques like twilight birth, which in reality took away all control and power of a woman during childbirth.  The whole process is just sad and scary!

Don’t get me wrong, I love medical technology.  Safe c-sections are a great medical advancement.  There are truly a small number of women who have a very small pelvis and have difficult and very hard labors while everything moves to make room for the baby.  There are babies that are facing the wrong way.  There are medical emergencies like placenta detachment that can cause the baby to suffocate and you can’t wait to deliver the baby vaginally.  But the sad thing, is these cases are not the norm.  Plus, skills that used to be common like getting a baby to change positions or safely deliver a breech baby have been lost in western medicine due to the ease of c-section.  Again, this is a wonderful skill for Doctorrs to have, it saves the lives of mothers and babies.  But according to the World Health Organization, the safe c-section rate of a country should be between 5-10%, not the over 1/3 of births like the current rate in the US.

I can say with all honesty that my first c-section possibly saved my son’s life.  The part I struggle with, is that in my Dr’s desire for a quicker delivery (and mine too), we rushed the natural progression of labor.  The added pain that resulted caused me to rush into an epidural that not only made it impossible for me to feel the natural cues of labor, but also required me to labor in a position that decreased my labor’s effectiveness.  The medications that were used to start my labor, continue it, and counteract the effects of the previous interventions put unnecessary stress on my baby.  And when I was unable to get him out due to a 30% smaller pelvic opening from being on my back and all the stress on his little body from hard but ineffective contractions, a c-section was necessary to have him delivered safely.

With my second birth, my daughter was breech at the beginning on my third trimester, so my Dr recommended scheduling a c-section.  Even though she turned on her own, and even though I desperately wanted a VBAC, I let my Dr talk me into keeping the section scheduled at 39 weeks.  And while this one was so much easier than the “emergency” c-section I experienced before, I regret knowing how much easier it would have been to heal without surgery having a toddler and a baby.  Also, 39 weeks?  A baby is considered full-term in the US at 40 weeks, but in the rest of the world a baby is considered full term at 41 weeks.  Thankfully I gave birth to a healthy 8 lb 8 ozer, but what if we’d been off on my dating and we unknowingly caused my baby girl to be born too early?

So, I already wasn’t happy with my first birth experience and I really regretted my decisions with my second.  Does this mean that I don’t love my kids?  No way.  But I decided before I ever got pregnant again that I was going to learn as much as I could so I would have no regrets in future pregnancies.  While researching ways to avoid c-sections I discovered all kinds of wonderful things about the way God designed the female body, and about all the hormones involved in labor and delivery.  By trying to avoid the pain, we as women are selling ourselves short in the level of bonding we can have with our new babies, we make nursing more difficult, and we increase our chances of experiencing post partum depression.  But my goal in this is not to provide all the information I found, but to share why I have made the decisions to change that I have.

We have lost so much with modern technology.  God really does have a reason for why he made things the way he did.  He created plants that help labor naturally progress, but we use synthetic medications that are so much harsher on our bodies.  We are so afraid of pain that we look past or ignore many of the reasons for that pain.  It lets us know that our bodies are working hard for something.  It lets us know if something is actually wrong.  It causes hormones to release in our bodies that will help us bond with our new babies.  Believe me, I KNOW that it’s going to hurt.  But isn’t that something I should be willing to deal with to do what I think is BEST for my baby?

To some it may look like I’m risking a lot, attempting a VBA2C.  But the risk of multiple c-sections is a whole lot more daunting to me.  I don’t know if I’m done having kids after this one.  I know I want at least one more biological child.  The risks of uterine rupture, placental detachment, and other complications increases with each added c-section.  I’m doing everything as safely as I can.  I’ve had several medical professionals tell me that I am an ideal candidate for a VBAC.  By doing it naturally, my body will be able to tell me something is wrong long before a fetal monitor would show fetal distress.  I’m using a Dr that is experienced in VBAC and supports it fully as he’s seen firsthand a baby die as a result of multiple c-sections.  I’m using a doula to help me cope with the pain while also having experience staying through full labors and knowing what is normal and what is not.

I’m doing this naturally, not only do what’s best for the baby I’m carrying, but also because it’s best for my other 2 children.  I want to be able to heal faster then after having a major surgery.  I want to be home with them sooner.  I don’t want to have doubts that I did the wrong thing…I already know that I struggle with depression at times, I don’t want to increase the chances of that.  I also want to teach my children that we can grow and learn and make changes.  I want to empower my daughter to do what’s best for her future children and have sons that can help their future wives by knowing my experiences.  I want them to be as involved with the birth of their new brother as they want.  They shouldn’t see me hooked up to tubes and monitors.  They shouldn’t be afraid.  If they want to come in and give me a hug, I should do as much as I can to make it comfortable for them.  I want them to be able to come in right away and meet their baby brother and begin bonding with him.  And they deserve to have a mom that did everything she could to heal quickly and be able to focus on them too.

And I know I may end up with another c-section.  But I’ll go into it with no regrets.  I’ll know I tried.  And I can still ensure that even if I do have another c-section, that doesn’t mean that I need to be separated for hours from my baby like what happened with the first 2.  I have more information that will make nursing easier.  I will know that it was actually necessary, and not easier, more convenient, or because I chickened out.

And obviously from my previous post I’m making other changes.  I’m not going to go into all of those.  But when you start researching things, you find a lot more information than just what you were searching for.  I’ve found some wonderful blogs.  One site worth reading if you’re a woman at any stage in your life is http://drpoppy.com.  Another is http://www.naturallyknockedup.com.  You can do random Google searches to find more information on a lot of the changes I’m making and make your own decisions on what is right for you and your family.  And again, just because I’m doing things differently doesn’t devalue my other children, it just makes me thankful that we didn’t suffer any of the risks that were involved with those decisions.  Now that I’m aware of the risks, it would be irresponsible of me to do the same thing again.  I love my kids, just the way they are.  Doesn’t mean I can’t change now, they are experiencing the benefits of most of the changes.  My responsibility is to do what I can to do the best for them now and in the future.

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