Friday, October 29, 2004


Academic Armageddon- that's my English prof's title for our final paper assignment. On the surface it isn't bad- 5 to 8 pgs, annotated bibliography with at least 3 print sources. No biggie, I've had to write longer. And there's no topic restriction, which is always nice. Only it's 25% of our grade, so I'm sweating it. I settled on my subject being drawbacks to the increasing reliance on technology in childbirth (hospital birth, but since 90% of people assume that's the only kind in existence, I don't think I'll have to qualify it ;). It's a topic I know a lot about already and have read books galore on, I just have to pull out quotes, essentially, and write the paper itself- my research was largely done two years ago when I trained with DONA (to obtain certification, there's a bunch of required reading you must do). I think it sounds like a boring paper, but I know it's one I can do easily and well. And it would probably be interesting to most people- my familiarity with the subject is the major root of my ennui.

But I wonder. I wonder. I wonder. I keep coming back to midwifery. I read an article in Mothering about a paraplegic woman's homebirth and her midwife's complete confidence in her, and I think I want to do that. I talk to my midwife and think I want to be her. I hear a woman's birth experience, and sometimes I want to find her doctor and beat him/her mercilessly for how she and her birth and her baby have been violated and abused. I think, often, I need to do something about this. Part of me would love nothing more than to love women and catch babies for the rest of my life. To function as a doula in the hospital and a midwife at home. Rolla (that's my midwife) and I are soul mates- I don't usually connect to other women immediately, but I did with her. She seems almost like the mentor I wasn't looking for.

But part of me shoots back that it's escapist. I'm not thinking of becoming a midwife with some political goal or statement in mind, not to protest the system but to support the counterculture that already exists. I'll never be one to march against hospital birth or hospital policies, nor can I see myself calling legislators to get laws changed. I don't even really have a goal of convincing people that homebirth is as safe or safer than hospital birth (even though I deeply believe it is, and there is plenty of evidence to support it). It comes down to preaching to the choir, I guess, and the evangelical part of me says that isn't enough. Lifestyle witness for alternative birth isn't enough. Walking my walk isn't enough. I have to talk the talk; convince people on the other side to come around to my POV; proselytize for homebirth, in other words. But is that even true?

In the past, I've compromised with myself and decided that I'd do something else completely as a day job (usually teaching or social work- apparently I have an obligation complex, sheesh), and be a doula only- in my spare time. As a hobby. The doula role is easier to justify, as in a very real sense it is an activist role- a doula is, at heart, an advocate and servant of a birthing woman, making sure she is as comfortable and well-supported as possible, and communicating the mother's wishes to the hospital staff when she might be too "good" (compliant) or focused to advocate for herself. I have the added benefit, since it is a hobby, of being able to choose not to charge for my services- which obviously wouldn't be the case if I were a doula/midwife full-time. It feels pretty morally unimpeachable. I'm completely addicted to the sense of being morally superior. I hate that.

But it also feels useless. How much spare time will I really have as a wife and mother of four? Maybe this is just another sneaky 4 (enneagram) way of avoiding a decision so that I don't have to worry about making the wrong one. Except.

Except that decision time is coming whether I like it or not. Either I will decide or something or someone will decide for me.

I have a pretty good feel for my gifts, I think. I just wish I had a better sense of my calling.


I've been thinking lately about the things in my life that are tidal in nature, and how their movements affect mine and vice versa. It started with a comment from Jeff a while back about a certain friendship..."Your friendship is just tidal. You guys talk a lot for a while, then back off and take a break and don't communicate much" (or something like that). And I looked back, and it's true. And not just of that relationship. It's true of my energy level, my need for sleep, other's a little alarming, if I think of it in terms of consistency vs inconsistency.

Right now, energy is at low tide. I can hardly muster the energy to make myself dinner, which is saying something when I am pregnant and ravenous (I finally cooked for myself at 8 last night- I made for the kids at 5, and since we don't have snacks, that was my first food since 1). I want to sleep all the time, and it's a struggle every day to make it through the afternoon without a nap. I'm narcoleptic in class, even my English class, which is the one I'm currently living for, as school goes.

Patience is at a low ebb, too. I consider it a victory when I make it through a day without yelling like a fishwife at my kids, or hitting someone- that sounds terrible, but I feel terrible. I don't believe in physical punishment- spanking/hitting/"tapping"/grabbing/pinching- so I die a little bit every time I violate that deep conviction.

I know that a lot of this is just part of my phisiology and psychology in winter- just the lack of sun causes suicidal depression for me for two or three months in a typical year (if I neglect my light box). I know this, but it doesn't help me forgive myself. And I'm beginning to think this inability to deal gently with myself is contributing to or fueling all the other ungentleness in my life- with my family, for example.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I would add this to the post a few back about Allie and voting, but then no one would see it. Anyhow, I forgot way back when to tell everyone that my son, who is not much of a talker yet (a doer, though- whew, yeah)...well, apparently he already has a platform and a book planned. Who'd have known? One day he just walked up to Jeff and spit out the name of his forthcoming book on attachment parenting-

"happy baby...happy you"


Thanks the people who reached out in church tonight, explicitly or implicitly, to offer their support during what was a very tough gathering for me.

Yes, I was crying throughout the first half of the service (if you wondered). No, I won't tell you why- there are one or more conversations I need to have before I even consider making the source of my tears public. I may never blog about why, except for the fact that pregnancy hormones are really a pain for me, being that I hate crying in public, and I can usually get away with surrepticiously wiping away a few tears rather than full-on public bawling for half an hour. Jeff said he was proud of me for being real- I'd be proud if I'd had a choice about it, but I didn't (unless you consider I could have chosen to run to the restroom wet-faced, thereby drawing even more attention, which isn't much of a choice. Crying in bathrooms echoes, anyway, and since we were sitting next to the band, I felt more secure staying put). I'd make a longer post, but it's midterms this week and I really need to get my spanish verbs down. Good night.

Friday, October 15, 2004

What ho, pottery?

Just because I know you're all dying of curiosity about my english prof, I thought I'd let you know that he's got a pottery show going this weekend at the Monticello community center. Apparently he usually has a mixed showing of pots and sculpture, but this time it's pure pottery. I don't know if it's a one-man show or not, but I'm afraid to put his name up here, in case he googles it and finds my blog (but it's Chris Oveson). I'm gonna try to go, but with all we have going on this weekend, who knows if I'll make it. Plus it just kind of seems like an ass-kissing thing to do, so I'm uncertain if I should. Anyone that goes, let me know- I've never been to a pottery show.

can't we just elect someone already?

Allie and I had a talk about voting yesterday, after another shameless guilt trip on the part of PBS Kids about how kids should make their parents vote (in theory, I agree- but it seems like a pretty heavy trip to lay on a 4 or 5 year old, who may suffer guilt about a parent's refusal to vote for a long time after...ok, that doesn't read like a joke. sigh). Anyway, I reassured Allie that Jeff and I both have every intention of voting before I go to Spanish class on Election Day (do polls open at 7 or 8? I haven't been able to get a definitive answer). Anyone who wants to see the voting guilt trip, tune in to TPT 17 at about 6:28 pm.

Allie: Mom, don't vote for that guy you don't like. (that would be Bush- we watched part of the debates together last week)
Me: No, honey, I'm not going to.
Allie: You should vote for who I'm going to vote for.
Me: Oh? Who are you voting for?
Allie: That girl that is running.
Me: (beaming with pride) Well, sadly, honey, there isn't a girl running. But if there was, I'd probably vote for her. (Of course, I'm not counting David Cobb's running mate Pat LaMarche, but I promised Jimmy I wouldn't vote third party. Resist...resist...)

I love this kid, I really, really love this kid. I feel sort of bad that Gabe and Eva don't get as much type here- I guess it's just that they don't talk as much as Allie. Eva, however, has started doing a really good Allie impersonation- you just have to ask her what movie she wants to watch..."how 'bout.....ummmmm..."

Anyone who likes (or at least isn't threatened by) silent films should dig up a copy of Metropolis somewhere and watch it posthaste. Interesting film. Anyone who has the anime Metropolis (loosely connected to the aforementioned silent film), can earn Jeff's and my eternal thanks and devotion by loaning it to us. You could probably get us to do karaoke or something equally humiliating for it, too. Speaking of film, Jeff and I finished Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night...good flick. It reminded me a lot of Jeff and I in less-happy times (adolescence, that is, well, mostly. short version- depressed codependents should not date each other).

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Blinky just kicked me. I forgot how odd that feels.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

No, thanks

Anyone want my recommended flu vaccine?

I'm really trying to understand the rationale for stating that healthy women with no risk factors should get the vaccine simply because they happen to be pregnant. I'm supposed to be considered of equal priority with a healthcare worker in direct contact with patients, or someone aged 2-64 with an underlying chronic health problem? I don't get it. I'll probably never get it. It makes about as much sense as routine electronic fetal monitoring and confinement to bed during labor.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I never thought on posting Sunday night that the next morning I wouldn't be able to sit at the computer for two days. Monday morning I woke up and after I got out of bed, realized that I had injured my back again. Probably all the kid-carrying I did over the weekend. Big thanks to Jimmy, without whose willing arms (and back) I would probably have made things worse by carrying Eva on the way back from our after-breakfast walk. After skipping class two days this week (the very thought of sitting at those desks brought on spasms, although I did manage to make it in for my Spanish exam), and making Jeff come home from work Tuesday, I've learned some useful things about pain:

1. It's worse if you hold your breath (really, I learned this in labor, but I didn't realize it had general application until yesterday).
2. Kisses really do help (thanks, Allie, Gabe, Eva, and Jeff- all of whom gave me extra yesterday).
3. Regardless of how bad sudden movement hurts, your nerves will still react involuntarily to catch a falling child.
4. Tylenol doesn't do squat. And since I'm pregnant, I feel guilty taking it.
5. Grinding your teeth against the pain when you're asleep will provide you with a useful distraction from how much your back hurts when you wake up.
6. Even excruciating, awful pain that makes me cry does not cancel out the great weekend I had. I'd do it again- but more carefully.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more stamina for posting- right now my back and I are both tired.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Back soon...

I was really, really, honestly going to post tonight, then I ended up sitting here falling asleep while trying to check my email- not a good sign. Since my kids are all in bed, I'm going to take this opportunity to sleep as well. The retreat this weekend was awesome fun. Tomorrow I will find the energy for a "real" post. Meanwhile everyone should go bookmark this in preparation for the next presidential debate (and to read up on how the candidates got their facts a bit, um, "mixed up" during the last one).

I'm still doing ok, starting to feel normal again, finally. Although school is taking up so much time that I'm still fighting against being overwhelmed. Somehow, I will get the hang of this. Still no Minneapolis date for Over the Rhine this winter. I'm gonna be really bummed if they don't make it here.