I’ll set the stage for you.
Dad and son are at the park together. Mom and daughter stay home to work on dinner. Well, mom is working on dinner and daughter is watching Daniel Tiger in the bedroom. She’s giggling and talking to herself and it feels like the best kind of Friday evening at home.
Sadly, idyllic times like the one described above aren’t meant to last when there are young children at home. In between prepping the vegetables and dredging the meat I went back to check on what exactly what was so funny about Daniel Tiger and found my duvet cover, baby girl, and baby girl’s stuffed lion covered in globs of hair wax.
She was so proud of her work! Dinner was put on hold and That Husband got home just in time to strip her down and scrub her hair while I washed the bedding and kept the rice from burning.
The next day, a bout of overdue toddler proofing commenced. I’d say we were lucky to be able to put it off this long. I’m going to think about styling her hair sometime, but with a much more conservative dollop of hair wax (the lion has hopefully seen his last round of sticky hair styling).
She’s so close to crawling and this means I’ve got to jump on every opportunity to take pictures of her before she starts scooting away from me all the time.
Throughout my pregnancy we spent hours talking about first and middle names for our second child. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, so we discussed both male and female combinations that we liked. Our criteria for first names was the same as before (minus my thoughts about a theme) and I wanted a family name for the middle name (T1’s middle name is my FIL’s first name). About an hour after I gave birth to our baby girl the midwife asked if T2 was going to take my last name or That Husband’s. We both laughed because we had never considered anything other than the American standard, children take husband’s last name. And so on all the paperwork filled out post-birth the midwife used TH’s last name.
When giving birth in a hospital in the US, the birth certification process is streamlined and under normal circumstances it’s all taken care of by the time you are discharged. Having a home birth means that the parents have to go into the local municipal office with a stack of paperwork and apply for a birth certificate. After a few weeks of procrastination we were preparing for our appointment when I thought back on what the midwife had asked and realized “I want her to have my last name.” I have had a different name from my husband for almost 5 years now, and so far it hasn’t caused any problems. I’ve had a different last name than my son for 3 years, and that hasn’t been an issue either (even with multiple trips out of the country and back). But most of the males I know would not even consider such a thing with their own children. Continue reading
I’ve had this post on my mind for a long time now, but I felt I couldn’t write it until I revealed the enormous shift I’ve made over the past year. If you didn’t know that I had left Mormonism how could what I am about to say come across as anything other than pandering? I needed you to know that I am in a different place so that I could atone for my past mistakes. I choose the word atone carefully, knowing that my recent declaration could make it sound as though I am trying to be clever. But I know of no better word than atone to convey a complete cleansing, which is what I need. Some of the things I’ve said in the past hurt people in really deep ways and I want to shed the baggage that comes along with realizing that. This does not mean I recognize all of the mistakes I’ve ever made or will continue to make, or that I have the ability to own up to each and every one of them. I am deeply flawed, and within that bundle of flaws comes pride and shame, both which prevent me from being all that I want to be. I’ll keep chipping away at those stones that burden my progress, but for now I hope those I have hurt will accept the apologies I am offering up below and know that they come from the truest part of myself that I am mentally and emotionally able to lay bare.
Most of these apologies are related to my Mormon mindset, but I will start with one that has no relation to the faith of my childhood. While I was pregnant I wrote a post called I’m Gonna Climb That Mountain (those who were hurt by this post have requested that it be made unavailable to the public so that the hurtful messages I voiced within it can’t be spread any further). I’m not sure anymore what I was trying to convey, but reading back over it I can see that it was a terrible post and I said a lot of hurtful things. I’ve been ashamed of that post for a long time, but haven’t allowed myself to take it down because I didn’t want to hide behind my ability to make posts private or delete them altogether. I think women should birth how and where they want. I am sorry that I made any woman feel like her birth plans or birth experience weren’t good enough. I think mothers should have every opportunity to choose the birth experience that leaves them feeling empowered and triumphant, because that is how I felt after the births of my babies and that is what I want every woman to have as well. I think that some women do everything they can to give birth a certain way and it turns out to be something else entirely. Those women should have the opportunity to grieve the loss of a great dream while they simultaneously celebrate the arrival of their little one(s), and no one should ever criticize them for doing so. There is no mountain. There’s just a pregnant woman doing her best for the life she carries inside of her, and then there is a beautiful mother doing her best for her child.
And now for the opinions and thought processes that were a product of my personal history and religious tradition. A wonderful thing to note is that not all of those who come from my community or belong to the Mormon faith think or act the way I did; they are much better people than I. But when I shifted away from Mormonism and a worldview shaped by my youth I left old hurtful attitudes behind and I can’t untangle where these attitudes began and how much of a role my past played in nurturing them. All I can do is acknowledge that they were a part of the Jenna of the past and that I want to leave them behind forever and move toward the better Jenna of the future. Continue reading
March 6th 2013.
T2 is exactly one month old. T1 is one month shy of his 3rd birthday.
The first waking of the night happens around 2 am.