Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"There Could Never Be a Father Who Loved His Daughter More Than I Love You"...Another Bittersweet Post on Mortality.

I was doing some housework while my iTunes played on shuffle, and when this gem of a song came on, I felt inclined to stop what I was doing, and write. So, here I am.

Stephanie Rose Photography

"Father And Daughter" by Paul Simon

If you leap awake
In the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second
You can't remember where you are
Just open your window
And follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain
Where we counted every falling star
I believe a light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever
And though I can't guarantee
There's nothing scary hiding under your bed
I'm gonna stand guard like a postcard
of a Golden Retriever
And never leave till I leave you
With a sweet dream in your bed

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two,
There could never be a father who loved
His daughter more than I love you

Trust your intuition
It's just like goin' fishin'
You cast your line and hope you get a bite
You don't need to waste your time
Worryin' about the market place;
Try to help the human race
Strugglin' to survive its' harshest night 

((Disclaimer, this is the song my sister and daddy danced to at her wedding, almost exactly one year ago on 10.18.14))
There is a very special relationship between dads and their daughters. My sister and I idolize our dad. We think he hung the moon. And I see the way Lilah clings to George, and I know she already feels the same way I do about my daddy. Sometimes, during days when I'm home and G is at work, LG will tell me, "I miss my dad." In those instances, we'll call him up just to tell him. I'm grateful that we can just call him up. Is it just me, or does parenthood make everybody else acutely aware of our mortality?

I have friends who have lost their dads. My heart aches for them. It is complete and utter bullshit that there are good people who die young while octogenarians who have been convicted of child molestation and murder continue to live behind bars. I feel like saying "life isn't fair" is such a gross understatement. 

The only thing that gives me hope, is witnessing that life goes on outside of these bodies we are given. I don't believe in a traditional Heaven with an old Father figure named God, puffy clouds, and a list of names VIP style for who gains entry. But I do believe the soul is eternal, and energy can't be destroyed.

I attended the most gorgeous, thoughtful, every-detail-was-perfect-this-will-rule-on-Pinterest, wedding this month. The beautiful bride lost her father a few years ago. I remember when he passed away. I felt like there were no words I could say, still having my daddy, to my friend in her grief. All I remember sharing with her, was that butterflies are my favorite symbol, and I hoped for her that the butterfly trinket I gave her would remind her that her dad was around in a new, even more beautiful and omnipresent form. After this exchange of words, she told me her dad also loved butterflies, and this was a special thing the two of them had. 

What I'm about to type will sound like fiction, but know that with every fiber in my being I promise this is true:

When this gorgeous bride and groom were saying their vows outside on the most beautiful day I'd seen all year, there was a big butterfly fluttering around her. 

I'm literally tearing up as I type this! I promise this is real.

George and I were sitting toward the back, many pews ((yes, outdoor wedding in the woods, with vintage church pews, I'm telling you, the wedding was so dreamy)) away from the newlyweds, but I saw that butterfly. Her dad was there. Of course he was. The toasts made later during the reception were so moving. His legacy was honored, and his presence was palpable.


Surprisingly, many people have asked George if he was "disappointed" that we were having another girl, or if we are going to "try for that boy." He's not disappointed. We aren't "trying for a boy." We feel sorry for the people asking the question, because clearly they don't know the magic that exists between a daddy and a daughter. We know it firsthand, and we are so excited to get to experience that twice.

Greer Inez Photography

Parenthood is a trip. These little people depend on us for their every need. I can't wait to hold our brand new, fresh from Spirit, baby girl, and I can't wait to change her diapers, and give her milk for every meal, and rock her until she falls peacefully to sleep. This time will be sacred and precious, and I'm counting down the days!

Greer Inez Photography

And simultaneously, I want to cling to my parents. I want to savor their health, their life, their time with me while I have them. My parents are young, but we just don't know what the future holds. I hope they live to be over 100 years old in the most perfect health, and then pass on peacefully in their sleep at the same time holding hands. That's how I want to go out with my man. The day after we complete everything on our Bucket List together.

I know as a society, we fear aging and being helpless and dependent. But I want my parents to know that if ever a day comes when I need to feed them, change them, rock them peacefully to sleep, I will be just as honored to love them in the way they loved me when I came into the world. When this little baby enters our lives in December, I'm not going to think, "God, what a burden. I can't believe I have to feed her again." Time will stand still when I give her what she needs. Our eyes will lock, and no words will be necessary. I'll see her soul, and she'll see mine. And my hope is that when//if I have similar experiences with my parents, they'll know that I'm just as honored to love them in this capacity. 

And if my parents are taken swiftly from me, I hope they know just how much I love them, and how much I've needed them, and that adjusting to life without their physical form will be the hardest thing I'll have to endure up to that point. It's what I fear most...losing my people. My mom lost her mother ((unexpectedly)) when she was 9 months pregnant with my sister. She was 27 years old. When I put myself in her shoes, I feel panicky.


Stephanie Rose Photography ((03.24.2012))

Stephanie Rose Photography ((03.24.2012))

The song that inspired this post belongs to my sister and dad. But when I hear the opening lyrics, I have now considered it from both perspectives. The parent taking care of the child, and the child taking care of the parent. It makes me tear up thinking about it. Not because I don't want to, but because I just want to freeze time so damn bad. I want to live forever in this middle place, where I have my babies, and my parents. 

Ultimately, I'm grateful for love, because I'd much rather carry this fear of losing my people, than not know what it was like to love someone so much. 

I'm grateful for this weekend, when the people I love most will all be in a cabin in the woods for a weekend away together. Memories are going to be made, and I'll be sure to photograph + document it, so I have the chance to re-live it in another blogpost, scrapbook, or sleepless night when I am flipping through my iPhone. 

Excuse the somewhat emotional and morbid blogpost, I'm 28 weeks pregnant, and a grown woman. I do what I want.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hello Third Trimester,

Dear Baby,

We are venturing into the last trimester together as one body this week. I'm always fascinated thinking about the two of us as two separate souls contained in this one body, sharing blood, sharing oxygen, sharing life. I am so excited you're a girl! I love thinking about Russian dolls, and knowing that should you decide to have children, the eggs are already inside you right now! So in theory, multiple generations of our family are all contained in our shared body at this sacred point in time. What an honor.

You are currently in the transverse position. I feel you move around all the time, but just around the edges of our anterior placenta, so it still feels so funny to me! You catch me off guard sometimes with your kicks, but I love feeling your movement. We also discovered extra amniotic fluid this week (("polyhydramnios")) that we will monitor every 2 weeks with sonograms. The cause is idiopathic, they don't know why! So in other words, I'm not sure if it's you or me, but we've been up to some mischief already together.

The polyhydramnios is why I'm looking so much further along than I really am. Also why I'm experiencing symptoms typically expected later in the third trimester ((heartburn, fatigue, swelling, pelvic and lower back pain, leg pain while sleeping)). We've been fortunate to have such kind and helpful people in our lives helping us out. Your sister is a busy 2 year old, and your daddy works a lot of hours, so both your grandmas and your Aunt Laura and Uncle Jordan have been very helpful with giving me a break. Of course, your sweet dad is the most helpful. He rubs my back every night, helps me stretch, gets me water and Captain Crunch cereal, and tells me how beautiful my ever-growing body is. I'm so grateful he's your daddy.

Your big sister is patiently waiting for her new best friend to get here!!!

Cravings: I'm still rockin' that ricotta cheese. Also loving cream cheese and yogurt. I'm really all about that dairy! I think my body is craving the calcium. I've also been loving childhood cereals. Captain Crunch, Trix, Fruity Pebbles, Reeses Puffs, and Lucky Charms have all been in the rotation. I'm jonesin' for some Captain Crunch right now as I type...

Size: The maternity photos in this blog are from a fun photoshoot with your Aunt GZ! They were from a couple weeks ago. I'm actually quite a bit larger today. I've gained 30 pounds, and even maternity clothes are starting to be uncomfortable unless they have the full-belly coverage. I started wearing a back support band, and the relief is INCREDIBLE! 

Chiropractic Care: I saw a chiropractor specializing in maternity care today for the first time! She was awesome. My sacrum, hips, and lower back were all out of alignment. Using maternity pillows and a drop-table, she adjusted my whole body, and I felt relief immediately. I felt like my body went back to two weeks ago in terms of discomfort. I'm going to continue seeing her throughout the pregnancy. Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act covers complementary health care now, and we can use our HSA card for these visits! The ACA also covered our breast pump, at 100%. 

Work: I will continue to work 3 days a week until you are born, or unless I go on bedrest. Currently, I work Tues/Thurs/Fri, usually 0630-1630. I love my co-workers, my boss, and my job. I am sitting more frequently, and everybody at work has been so kind and helpful. 

I love you so much, sweet girl. I trust that you are going to be a happy, healthy, smart, and kind little baby. You're perfect. I've been saying "I can't wait to meet you" but I need to be more intentional about my words... I can wait to meet you. Please stay safe and sound in our weird little ((transverse lying, anterior-placenta, polyhydramniotic)) womb, and no more mischief until December 15th. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

Dear Baby,

Well hello, there.

Feeling you move around has been such a delight. Our placenta is anterior, so I've had a more difficult time feeling you when you were smaller, but now at 24 weeks, I definitely feel you move regularly throughout the days and nights.

You've been such a great baby! You haven't made me sick, and I've felt really happy and peaceful carrying you with me everywhere we go. I like knowing that even on my drives to work, I'm not alone; we are together, pumping the same blood, sharing space in my body. I am honored to be your mama.Your daddy and sister love you so much, too! Lilah has started even called you "her baby" instead of "the baby" a few times. She'll often pat on my tummy and say "I love you" or "Hi Baby" all on her own. When it's just you, me, and Daddy in bed, he'll put his hand on my tummy and talk to you. We love knowing that you can hear us now, and that the sounds of our busy home are already becoming familiar to you. Hopefully that means when you arrive, the constant barking of Teddy and Stella won't wake you up or annoy you. Hehe.

Cravings: The oddest craving I've had has been ricotta cheese with a spoon, followed by a spoonful of cherry preserves. Mmmm. Still sounds good, actually. I've really enjoyed cannoli, too. I think you really like that good ricotta cheese. I'll be sure to get you started on lasagna early in life. Also, coffee still sounds perfect, at any hour of the day. Alcohol has been much easier to give up than cutting back on coffee has been. I have 2 cups of "half caff" a day. And I could easily have 10. No aversion to it whatsoever. Honestly, this has been the toughest part of the pregnancy, but it's much easier now that we're in the second trimester and I'm not as tired.

Sex*: When I first found out I was pregnant, I thought "BOY!" I have had 2 dreams so far, and in the first you were a boy, and in the second, a girl. About 6 weeks before we knew for sure, I had a gut feeling that you were a girl. Before our gender reveal party, I kept saying how SURPRISED I'd be if it was a boy. I'd be so happy either way, of course, but I just envisioned having two girls. When people asked if I had a preference, I was honest. I would prefer another girl. If you were a boy, the surprise would be very fun, and having the experience of raising both genders would be a fun challenge, but I really loved the idea of my children having the same sisterhood that I had growing up with your Aunt Laura. I think the potential for friendship is so strong with the same gender. You two will really understand each other, and hopefully be able to talk to each other about things that maybe you don't want to talk to us about.

Size: I've gained about 20-25 pounds so far, and absolutely loving my pregnant body. I'm eating whatever I want, I'm sleeping well, feeling refreshed in the mornings ((most of the time)), and I'm not fatigued or swollen//uncomfortable. I love getting dressed and showcasing my growing bump as my favorite part of any outfit.

I love you so much already! I am so excited for December to get here, so we can hold you, kiss you, and have hours upon hours of snuggle sessions. I pray everyday that you are happy, healthy, smart, and kind. Take your time in there, but know that we are ready for you. We've been ready for you. I even re-read a journal entry from a couple years ago, when your sister was still an infant. I wrote "Even though I'm feeling levels of contentment like never before, I know our family is not complete. Even though Lilah Grace is currently our only child, I know she is really our oldest child." We loved you before we made you, and will love you forever.

As you wiggle around in my tummy, I know you are caught between realms. I feel so honored to be connected to the spiritual realm through you. I want you to know, sweet little one, that when you arrive earth-side, it will be my honor to teach you how we do things here on this planet, but I will turn to you to remind me what the other realm is like. I will sit and stare at you with awe while you sleep, and wonder what you're dreaming of. I look forward to hearing your sounds, smelling your head, and staring into your wise and infinite eyes. Your dad and I are already so proud that we made your precious little infant body, but we know that your spirit within that body is eternal, and we honor the Divine in you. Namaste, little bun.


*Originally, I used the word "gender" but that was just out of habit. Fortunately, a progressive-minded friend pointed it out to me. The world is changing, and so am I, and regardless of your sex OR gender, I will love you infinitely.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Luanne.

Once a month, I've been making an effort to share musings from other mothers who inspire me.

January: Janelle 
February: Ashton 
March: Andrea
April: Allison + Annie 
May: Jen
June: Mallory 
July: Becky
August: Sherri 

This month, I am beyond privileged to share musings from Luanne.

We are family, luckily. But if we weren't, and I somehow met her despite our age difference and geographical distance from one another, I know we would still be friends. We're kindred spirits. Luanne is married to my mom's cousin Eddie. Eddie's mother and my mom's mother were siblings. Romagnolos. Luanne lives in Rochester, New York.

I think the best way to describe Luanne to someone who doesn't know her, is by simply explaining how she submitted her responses to this very blogpost. All of the other wonderful women who I've featured have responded to my questions either via e-mail or Facebook messenger. Luanne handwrote her responses, alongside a 2 page handwritten letter. She is heartfelt, thoughtful, generous, and loving. I love having her influence in my life. I am convinced the internet is a good force when it brings people like Luanne and I closer together, when before this modern day, we probably would not have had much of a relationship. I'm beyond grateful for her thoughtful responses and her wisdom. Enjoy!

Definition of a feminist: 
     My definition of a feminist is someone who genuinely celebrates the power of women...seeing them as equal in every way, with the same rights and opportunities.

Do you consider yourself a feminist? 
     Yes...absolutely. I want my 3 daughters to have the same opportunities as my 3 sons.

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since having a 'feminist awakening'? 
     I never had a feminist awakening. I come from a long line of strong and powerful women. My grandmother ((Nani)) came from a big Italian family of 6 girls and 2 boys. No one dared to mess with these women! They were opinionated, honest and direct. They were always willing to fight for what they believed in. They called the shots and didn't feel inferior to anyone. 
     I knew from an early age I could be and do anything I set my mind to. My parents valued me and my opinions from a very young age. With my Italian family I grew up with mass, saints, candles, feast days, nuns, and Holy Water. So religion has always been a part of my life. However, I have found my faith has gotten stronger the older I get and the more I live and experience life.

Do you think feminism and spirituality are related? 
     I see my spirituality as the act of honoring my spirit. And my spirit, the essence of who I am, is definitely a feminist. Actually it is broader than that. My wish is for all people to be included, treated equally and respected for who they are and what they believe is true for them.

What do you do and what encouraged you to get into it? 
     I have a Master's Degree in Elementary Education. I taught for 6 years and loved every minute of it. There was never a doubt about the career I would pursue. I was teaching 'school' on my street and to my friends since the age of 6. However, as much as I loved what I did, I wanted to be home full time with my children. Once we could afford it, I happily gave up teaching to spend my days with my son, Michael...eventually our family grew to include Lauren, Alison, Joe, Sam, and Grace.

What spiritual habits/practices/routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality into your family life?
     I love to read. Currently I am re-reading "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. I find websites, blogs, and videos on my iPad and read or listen to deep thinkers and their ideas on life.
     I also religiously watch Joel Osteen. Every Sunday at 8pm I am in church...really I am sitting in my living room watching Joel's current message. I also listen to him in the car. He is uplifting, positive, and puts things into perspective for me.
     As a family, we try to help people in need. If someone is sick or hurting we will light a holy candle and keep them in our prayers. We keep up with our family and friends near and far. And, of course we cheer each other on every day! I love having a big family. 

Do you want your children to have the same religious experiences you did? 
     I was raised in a very traditional Catholic church. I went to Catholic schools where I had a wonderful experience. I even returned to my elementary school to teach 4th grade!
     Ed and I picked an all inclusive Catholic church for our family. We wanted our children to see the value in a church that invited EVERYONE to communion, had women in the clergy, and a place where gay people could get married. The church is located in the city of Rochester ((New York)) and funds many charitable outreaches for the poor. Although we don't attend weekly mass, our children have made all their sacraments in this church. The atmosphere is open and welcoming to everyone, so the children can develop their own ideas around religion, morals, and values.

Is there a difference between religion and spirituality?
     For me the two are interconnected. Religion is your belief system in God//A Higher Power. Your spirituality is how you practice not only those beliefs but how you honor your soul. 

What do you think happens when we die?
     I was watching Oprah's Super Soul Sunday with Marianne Williamson. Marianne described death as "extraordinary...a light show...fabulous..." She went on to say, "Death is not the punishment but the reward." I want to go with that!

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?
     With 6 children, we let life happen. Life provides us with plenty to discuss and debate. Our children are free to discuss anything that is important to them at anytime. We listen, advise, and guide as needed. We are a very open family where feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are put on the table and discussed openly and freely.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Plastic Surgery...Let's Talk About Boobs.

Hey yall.

So while I typically blog about motherhood, feminism, and spirituality, occasionally I find a way for my day-job ((plastic surgery nurse)) to sneak in.

((For example, here is a post from a few years ago, on the Merge Between Feminism and Beauty))

I get asked A LOT of questions from people about my job.

"Is Botox dangerous?" 
"Do people actually transfer fat to their boobs?"
"What should I have done to get rid of this?"
"Is saline or silicone better?"

I have a big idea in the works for addressing all the questions, but until then, I thought this post might peak some interest.

So, let's talk about boobs.

I see them all day long. I photograph them, measure them, assess them, palpate them, and then help surgically modify them.

*For a while, I felt really strange about the latter.

But, over time, I've realized most of our patients have wanted this particular body modification for years, and after their surgery, they feel confident, empowered, and have a stronger connection to their identity.

It's a bit of a stretch, but many of our patients can relate to Caitlyn Jenner when she said she identified as being a woman, and her whole life felt like she was in the wrong body. Many large-breasted women are dancers, gymnasts, cheerleaders, athletes, or just free-spirited hippies who want to go braless in a sundress but felt like their body type has held them back. Most of society is pretty accepting of the woman who chooses to have a breast reduction. But the other side of that coin is the woman who feels like her chest makes her "look like a little boy" and while she wears feminine clothes and enjoys embracing her femininity in all other aspects, feels as though her lack of breast tissue doesn't fit with how she sees herself. 

Of course, I find the psychological + sociological aspects of surgery fascinating. But I'm going to try to keep it simple with this post and just explain what the procedures are.

  • A breast reduction is essentially the same surgery as a breast lift. The incisions are around the areola, vertically down the breast, and horizontally in the crease. Many people refer to this as an "anchor" incision. 
  • If the intention is to decrease the size, it's called "reduction mammaplasty." If the intention is to lift the nipple position, it's called a "mastopexy." 
  • Either way, when the nipple position comes up, some breast tissue is lost. While every person is different, most people go down a few cup sizes with this surgery. Some people only want to lift the nipple, not lose breast tissue. When that's the case, a small implant can be placed at the same time.
  • Many people who do a mastopexy with a breast augmentation ((breast lift with an implant)) wear the same bra size after surgery as they did pre-operatively. They just fill out their bras differently; they have more upper pole fullness.
  • By far, the most common way to increase breast size is with an implant. 
  • Regardless of saline//silicone, we almost ALWAYS put the implants under the muscle. Implants above//over the muscle can make interpreting mammograms more difficult. It's easier to interpret a mammogram on a patient with implants under//below the muscle because it pushes breast tissue up and makes it more visible. And as an added bonus, it looks a lot better, too. There's a natural slope from the upper chest as opposed to looking "stuck on."
  • The most common incision is in the inframammary crease (("IMC")). If a woman has a breast augmentation, she will likely have a future implant exchange, and the IMC is required for these surgeries, so it makes sense to start there. The armpit (("axillary")) incision is commonly requested, but most women don't realize that these scars show more often than the IMC incisions ((tank tops, bathing suits, sleeveless dresses, etc...)). They also have a slightly higher risk of infection.
    • Saline Implants
      • Are essentially an FDA-approved, expensive water balloon
      • Come with a 10 year warranty
      • Less expensive
    • Silicone Implants
      • Also FDA-approved, feel like breast tissue
      • Come with a lifetime warranty
      • Shows less "rippling" than saline implants, typically a better choice for thinner patients for this reason
        Rippling can still occur with silicone implants, but is far more common with saline. Going under the muscle for implant-placement also helps decrease rippling.
  • Fat Transfer
    • If a patient is opposed to implants, but still wants to make her breasts larger, she can have fat transferred from one area of her body to the breasts ((another common request is to the booty)).
    • Fat transfer is a very safe procedure, but not as reliable as an implant. A lot of times, patients are happy immediately after, but after the swelling subsides, and some of the fat dissipates, the results aren't as impressive. If a subtle change is all that the patient wants, it's a great option. 
This is all just the tip of the iceberg! It's kind of fun to blog about something different, and share some of my expertise with yall.

If you have specific questions, feel free to click on the "contact" link at the top of this page.


Friday, August 7, 2015

My C-Section ((How I Felt Then + Now))

When I was pregnant with Lilah Grace ((to be fair, years before I was even pregnant)), I envisioned for a natural birth. In nursing school, my group was selected to present at the statewide research symposium, on our findings on water immersion during natural labor. My mother-in-law birthed her 3rd son at home. I watched the natural birth documentary, The Business of Being Born several times, and all subsequent episodes. I read all the Ina May Gaskin ((legendary midwife + author )) I could get my hands on.

If I'm being honest,  "C-Section mama" was a title that meant one of two things to me:
  • A woman who was taken advantage of by her doctor's schedule and/or the medical system
  • A woman who didn't care about the experience of childbirth; somebody who wanted to skip labor and just hold their baby
During the childbirth class at the hospital, I didn't even attend the c-section segment. There was just no way that was going to happen to me. I did my research, I found a midwife who had privileges at a hospital that took our insurance, and if nothing else, I've had "child bearing hips" on my otherwise petite frame since middle school.

I shared my opinions on this blog while pregnant ((with Lilah Grace)). Some of my words:
  • "I also have been reflecting on some powerful words by Ina May Gaskin, before I embark on this journey of BIRTHING our baby! I am not afraid to go into labor. Sure, her size is intimidating...and I know it's going to be painful...but I am excited to be the vessel that allows a spiritual being to become her own physical lifeform. What an honor."
  • "I'm not fearful of labor. I can endure anything for a day. And women have been having babies for all of time. I'm actually excited (feel free to roll your eyes). The concept of being a vessel that brings a spiritual being into a physical being is an honor, and I think it will be a transformative and spiritual moment."
  • "After seeing "The Business of Being Born," I thought birthing at "The Farm" in Tennessee would be an amazing experience. I even called shortly after discovering I was expecting, but was disappointed to hear that we could DEFINITELY not afford it."

I visited "The Farm" ((arguably the natural birth hub of the world with the lowest c-section rate, at 2%)), meditated + visualized + prayed, and ultimately knew on a deep level where I belonged; I would be a naturally birthing mama. I already identified with that group of mothers. I already judged the others.

At an estimated 42 weeks, I tried to sleep, but the intermittent discomfort + anticipation kept me awake. After a few hours of contractions in the bathtub at home, I woke up my husband and told him it was time to go. The natural birth was indeed going to happen!

I had ALL OF THE FEELINGS on my 12 hours natural labor-turned 10 hours epidural labor-turned emergency c-section where my epidural had worn off, and I felt horrible + traumatic pain//pulling//ripping//electric shocks from the cauterization. 

But beyond the physical pain, I felt like a complete failure as a woman. I felt like I failed at the one thing my body was made to do...that all women's bodies were made to do...that every woman in my family and George's HAD DONE. Then, I felt like a spoiled, first-world brat. Everybody telling me that Lilah and I would've died 50 years ago made me feel really weird. Of course, I was grateful for modern medicine, and I thought about women in countries right now, in this decade, who die because the lack of adequate healthcare. I was grateful for the medical team. But I wondered...was my body made to reproduce? If I wasn't even capable of bringing a baby into the world without a major operation and the help of a medical team?


I think the spiritual reason I had a c-section with Lilah Grace was to teach me humility. I pretty much already had my natural birth story written out, in detail, in my head and in my heart. It looked nothing like the real story.

Before she was even born, I was prepared to soak up compliments from family + friends on my courage, bravery, and badassery. I was desperately craving external validation that I was a powerful woman.

Now, 2 years later, and 20 weeks into my second pregnancy, I realize I needed less judgment on moms who have c-sections. On moms who say "yes, please!" to drugs during labor. Because the labor//birth story doesn't prove you're powerful, though it can make for an inspiring story. I still cheer on the sidelines for the natural birthers, and I'm still impressed + inspired when I hear about those beautiful birth stories. Honestly, I'm still a little jealous. But my perspective has evolved quite a bit.

Overcoming obstacles showcases power. Being grateful and happy are more important to me than being sad about the birth story I wanted to have, but didn't. At last...internal validation.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Sherri.

Once a month, I've been making an effort to share musings from other mothers who inspire me.

January: Janelle 
February: Ashton 
March: Andrea
April: Allison + Annie 
May: Jen
June: Mallory 
July: Becky

For the month of August, I'm proud to showcase Sherri.  


Sherri is the daughter of our family-friend, Al. Al is my biggest cheerleader and confidence-booster, and also my go-to car mechanic. We call him Lilah Grace's "Fantasy GrandDad" because he plays the role of grandfather, and spoils her rotten. He lives near us ((in Texas)), but his daughter lives in New York. Anytime Al talks about Sherri, he lights up and goes on ((and on, and on, and on...just kidding, Al!)) about what an incredible woman she is. As soon as I met her, I knew exactly what he was talking about. She has so much radiance, grace, poise, intelligence, compassion, and love for humanity ((and animals)) pulsing through her veins. 
Sherri became a mama one year ago, and her son, Dash, is one of the most adorable babies I've ever seen. I was beyond ecstatic when Sherri agreed to share her heart while participating in this monthly series. In reading her responses to these questions,
 I discovered way more about this amazing mama, and fell even more in love. Enjoy the inspiration! 


What’s your definition of a feminist?
Someone who believes strongly in and fights for equality for women.

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

I actually consider myself a "people-ist". I know that's not a word but it best describes my feeling about it. I am always on the side of people in general not being treated equally. I get very upset and feel strongly when someone is being treated unfairly. Whether they are a minority, gay, a woman, the elderly, poor, misunderstood, etc., I feel the same for all.

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since having a “feminist awakening”?  Further from it?  Ambivalent? 
I have not had a feminist awakening exactly. I have always felt women should be treated equally. I grew up in a house with 3 brothers and I was the only girl. My dad would sometimes make references that seemed sexist and I would call him on it. Even as a young girl, I didn't really know that's what I was doing, but I was. He now laughs at things he says that are sexist and realizes he is being ridiculous when I point it out.  He's grown a lot!

Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another? 

I feel that spirituality is something that is so deep in your soul that you feel passionate about and makes you a better person. If feminism is that for you, then yes, I believe it's related for that person.

What do you do and what encouraged you to get into your line of work?

I am a makeup artist in film and television. I grew up doing makeup from the time I was 4 years old. I always loved it even though I don't currently wear a lot of makeup! My mother was also a hairdresser when I was growing up. This also influenced me.

What spiritual habits//practices//routines do you incorporate into your life?  How do you bring spirituality to your family life?

I would have to say that the most spiritual things we incorporate in our lives is church for my husband and sometimes me, music, love, and love of animals. Everyday when I'm feeding my child, I sing to him. The way we look at each other during this time feels very spiritual to me.

Do you want your children to have the same religious experience that you did as a child?

I am actually not a religious person. I did not grow up in a religious household, although as a young girl, I went to church with my best friend's family and became very involved. The church that I went to was very fanatical, in my opinion, and was very strict in its beliefs. It believed that this religion was the only religion that would go to "heaven" and any other person that was not "saved" by us would burn in hell and the blood of all of these people would be on my hands. It was so scary that I went to my father hysterically, who was Jewish, and told him I had to save him and I didn't want him to burn in hell as I cried. He told me that one day I would realize that I was being brainwashed and that he was going to be fine. This, in fact, is what happened.  I witnessed some very hypocritical things during my time in this particular church and it scarred me to the point that I was anti-religion for many years. My husband is a member of the episcopal church and has had many conversations with me to help me better understand what religion, when not fanatical, is really about. I have a new view on it now and have opened my eyes to the incredibly accepting episcopal church he belongs to in NYC. They are what I wanted to believe religion was really about. This church has women reverends, many gay members, transgender people as part of the procession, and is just, in general, a very open minded place of worship for many other reasons as well.

For these reasons, I have been attending this church and I am learning to trust religion again. This is how I want my son to be raised. He has been going here with my husband or both of us since he was born. I want him to be raised in the episcopal church and make his own decision about it when he is old enough to understand his decision.

What is the difference between religion and spirituality?
Well, to me, spirituality is anything that makes you feel centered, whole, and basically a better person. It can come from anything, ie: meditation, being at the ocean, going to church, music, or doing something that you feel passionate about. In addition to being a makeup artist, I also have a cat rescue in NYC. Saving these precious animals from the streets and getting them into their forever homes is a spiritual experience for me. Especially when it involves helping an injured or extremely frightened cat. Figuring out how to help the animal trust you and communicating with them to help figure out what they need and want is extremely spiritual to me.

Religion is a basic principle and set of ethics that you live by and how you worship. Religion and spirituality can be the same thing for some people and totally different others.

What do you think happens when we die?

I am not 100% sure. In my experience, I have definitely felt the presence of people who are close to me that have passed.

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?

My son is only 1 years old so I haven't had to answer the big ones yet. I look forward to the challenge though!
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