Today was my due date.
I think I’m gonna eat some chocolate. A friend is taking me out tonight – I think it’s good I have the distraction.
You know what I don’t need? Cute newborn babies in clients’ arms at work.
Today was my due date.
I think I’m gonna eat some chocolate. A friend is taking me out tonight – I think it’s good I have the distraction.
You know what I don’t need? Cute newborn babies in clients’ arms at work.
Miscarriage is like a secret club – you aren’t supposed to talk about it to anyone who isn’t a member.
There’s a slight problem with that.
If no one talks about their miscarriage, how do you know who you can talk about your miscarriage?
The stigma about talking about miscarriage goes so deep that you aren’t even supposed to tell people that you’re pregnant until the highest risk of miscarriage passes because otherwise you might have to tell them that you had a miscarriage.
And you don’t want to do that… for… some… reason…
Once that dangerous first trimester, which I hate so much, is passed, and your chance of miscarrying goes down drastically, well, then you can risk it.
Here’s the thing – why don’t we want to tell people that we miscarried?
Why should we walk around keeping pregnancy a secret lest we end up having to talk about miscarriage with our neighbours and coworkers?
But the social pressure is strong.
In fact, if you tell a lot of people that you are pregnant before 12 weeks along, people raise their eyebrows. “She’s feeling pretty confident,” they think.
Well, I told a bunch of people. And it wasn’t because I was feeling confident. I knew the risks, and I had my reasons.
First of all, there’s the nature of my work.
I work with xrays and pesticides and vaccines and all kinds of things that are bad news for a developing baby. I could go around making excuses for not helping people with xrays and suddenly pretending to be too busy to help with anesthesia, or I could tell the damn truth.
So I did.
Then there’s the basic rule of “only tell the people who you would also tell if you miscarried.”
Well, hell, that’s a lot of people. After all, I knew that if I miscarried, I would blog about it, so I might as well tell you guys I was pregnant. And since I get, like, 500 hits a day, that’s a lot of people.
And then, of course, I would never hide something as important as a miscarriage from my family, or my friends, so I told all of them, too.
And my daycare ladies, well, they nagged me constantly about giving Owl a sibling, and I knew that if I DID miscarry, I would find that nagging very painful, and I knew that they would never knowingly cause me pain… so I told them I was pregnant, and then I told them when I miscarried.
They won’t tease me about giving Owl a sibling now, and that’s for the best for all of us, I think.
Really, the only people who didn’t know that I was pregnant, or that I had miscarried, were my dog training clients, the clients at my work, and my more distant Facebook friends.
And lately, I’ve been wondering about why I even bothered hiding it from them.
Because now I have to make excuses, and put on a pretence, and I hate it.
I hate getting cheery facebook updates from people who don’t know what I’m going through. I hate having to tell clients that I can’t make their appointment and need to reschedule because I’m going through a “minor surgical procedure”, and do they mind rebooking for next week.
And for what?
Why am I shielding them from my loss? Why is my loss a kind of taboo that one is supposed to consider too private for discussion? Why should I act like everything is fine when it isn’t? Why is their discomfort more important than my grief?
And there’s something else -
If I hadn’t told so many people, then I wouldn’t have received this immense amount of support.
If I hadn’t told the people at my work, I wouldn’t have gotten flowers, and I wouldn’t have been told “take all the time you need!”
In fact, one of my friends got fired for missing so many days after her miscarriage. They didn’t know she miscarried. They just knew she disappeared for a week while still on her first three months probation. So they told her not to come back in.
If I hadn’t blogged about it, my neighbour who reads my blog wouldn’t have known I was pregnant, and we wouldn’t have been able to go knock on the door and hand Owl over so we could go home and cry the day we were told that our baby had died.
If my friends didn’t know, they wouldn’t be texting me offering help, or bringing me baked goods.
And most importantly – if I hadn’t told all these people, none of them would have told me about their miscarriages.
When I went back to work last Friday, three women told me about their miscarriages (and there were only like 8 people there that day).
Even some friends who had never told me about their miscarriages suddenly came out and told me that they had had one, too. If I hadn’t told THEM, they would never have told me, and we would have gone through life neither knowing that the other shared a similar experience.
And I think about two friends of mine, who both miscarried within a short period of time. They both told me, but they didn’t tell each other. And so they both lost a chance to share their grief with a friend, to help each other through a hard time. To this day, they still don’t know that they have this pain in common, and I am bound to secrecy by both of them.
One of these same friends never told her own family. Her grandmother and her mother-in-law both nag her constantly about having children, and can’t understand why she’s touchy about it.
Why cause yourself that kind of pain, and why allow loving family members to unknowingly hurt you again and again? Isn’t that cruel to both yourself and them?
Why do we keep this kind of loss so private?
If someone’s parent dies, they post it on Facebook.
If someone’s cat dies, they post it on Facebook.
But when your baby dies – that’s not something for other people to know?
What are we afraid of?
Is it fear of hearing stupid remarks?
I don’t think so.
Anyone who has lost a pet can tell you that you WILL hear from idiots who have never had a pet saying things like “it was just a cat”, or “just get another one.” And those words are hurtful, because our bonds with our animals are real, and losing a pet can hurt more than losing a relative.
But people still post it on Facebook, even knowing what kind of idiot remarks they might hear.
Is it a feeling of failure?
A lot of women feel guilt after a miscarriage. I thought it too, you can’t help it – your first thought is “what did I do wrong”?
It’s not helped by the fact that assholes have tried to prosecute women for miscarrying.
But the fact is that miscarriage is not the woman’s fault.
The lady at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre said something I will never forget:
“We see a lot of women here who are pregnant and don’t want to be. And you wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff they have tried to make themselves not be pregnant… but they still are anyway. Trust me, nothing that happened at your work could have caused this.”
Miscarriage is almost always caused by chromosomal abnormalities, “a mistake of mother nature,” as they called it when I went in for my D&C, or sometimes a structural abnormality with the uterus or cervix or some other medical cause.
It is nothing the woman did wrong.
So why stigmatize it? Why turn it into a silent shame?
Does it sometimes hurt to talk about? Yes. But so does any loss. That’s why people will ask “do you want to talk about it?” when you are grieving. But this is the only one that you’re not supposed to tell people about.
The fact is, I can’t come up with a single reason that really makes miscarriage different from any other loss, except this:
People don’t talk about it.
Because we don’t talk about it, no one knows how to react to it.
Society isn’t set up for it. There are no “sorry for your miscarriage” hallmark cards. There is no accommodation in corporate culture for giving the father-not-to-be time off to grieve and help care for his wife. You can’t get compassionate leave: that only applies to the death of a family member who has already been born, and no one gives you a death certificate after your D&C.
And so we’re trapped in a circle of hurt – we don’t talk about it, so no one knows how much it hurts, so no one gives any accomodation for it, so no one talks about it.
Meanwhile women who work with each other every day may never know that they have both suffered a loss. May never have even spoken of their loss to anyone. May be grieving alone, thinking no one could understand.
Until one day, another woman comes in with the courage to say, “I lost my baby.”
And then the stories come out, and we hug each other, and we cry for our babies… together, as we should be.
I’m going to start using a twitter hashtag: #talkaboutmiscarriage.
Because we need to.
A lot has been written about what NOT to say to someone who has just lost a pregnancy. Goodness knows I’ve read variations on that post many times, on various infertility blogs.
But now I’m getting them said at me, and PH is hearing them a lot at work.
And it’s funny, because all those bloggers are right, they are very unhelpful things to say, and they can be hurtful to hear. PH especially gets angry when he hears them, which is unfortunate because his workplace is being much worse about this whole situation than mine is.
I try to take them in the spirit with which they are offered, and ignore the actual words.
I know that the person saying these things is trying to be sympathetic, trying to make me feel better. So I try to shut out the hurt, because the words DO hurt, and just appreciate the sentiment.
Because the thing is, most of those things that people shouldn’t say but do… are TRUE.
I try to remind PH of this when someone comes out with one. “We’ve said that to each other, remember?” and he’ll grudgingly say “yeah…”
But being true does not make something helpful.
For example, here are some common platitudes that always show up on those “things not to say” lists, and which PH and I have both had to hear many times:
I don’t handle disappointment well.
Never have. I get mad. I want things undone.
I think Owl gets this from me.
He wants to do everything by himself, and if we thoughtlessly pick him up to hurry him, or don’t put him down immediately when he asks, he freaks out and tries to retrace his steps.
He isn’t satisfied with simply doing the rest by himself; he has has to undo what has already been done. He has to take the socks back OFF, or go back to the bottom of the stairs and start again, or run back to where I was standing when he first asked to get put down. If we don’t let him, he has a meltdown.
Sometimes we let him redo things. Other times we let him melt down. It really depends on whether it was our own thoughtlessness or his stubbornness that resulted in our rushing him to begin with.
Well, I wish I could have a meltdown of my own.
I hate the first trimester, and I’m pissed that I did 10 weeks of it for nothing.
I am PISSED that I have to do it ALL OVER AGAIN if I want to have a baby.
I am PISSED that I have lost TWO MONTHS that I can’t get back.
Even if I conceived a bare two weeks after my D&C – and they recommended we wait a month before trying – we couldn’t possibly have a baby until the end of February. More likely it’ll be March, April, May… a whole frigging year. By then Owl will be three and a half, way bigger than the spacing we were hoping for.
And that makes me MAD.
I am MAD that I lost those months.
I am MAD that the soonest we could possibly have a baby is much later than we wanted.
I am MAD that I can’t go back in time and try again.
I am MAD that I no longer have a maternity leave to look forward to – that I will be working until some time in the nebulous future, as opposed to a set time in December.
I am MAD that I was expecting a baby born in the year of the Snake, but now will be having a child born in the year of the Horse. Not because I actually believe in Chinese horoscopes but because I HATE CHANGES IN PLANS.
I am MAD because I was slightly hoping for an Aquarius baby, because I’m an Aquarius, and was slightly disappointed to be getting a Sagittarius instead and now, thanks to the timing of the miscarriage, I STILL won’t be able to get an Aquarius baby. Not because I believe in astrology but because I WOULD LIKE A BABY FOR MY BIRTHDAY.
I am MAD that I don’t know when I will bring home a sibling for Owl.
I am MAD that I won’t be bringing a newborn home to meet the family as planned at Christmas.
I am MAD that no one will ever wear the little Christmas pyjamas I bought (and a little afraid that someone will because it will take us a whole year to get pregnant again).
I am MAD that the baby will likely be walking and talking before PH’s family gets to see it, because we can only afford to go home every second Christmas or so.
We promised them a newborn for Christmas, and they aren’t getting one.
We promised OURSELVES a newborn for Christmas, and we aren’t getting one.
And there’s nothing I can do to change that.
I can’t retrace my steps and do it over. That’s gone, lost.
And I’m MAD.
Well, it’s done.
I had my assessment first thing in the morning.
They offered to do a second ultrasound, which I accepted – not because I really hoped they’d find anything different, but just for peace of mind – and it was slightly healing because they did the things that didn’t happen in the first ultrasound.
They let PH come in. They let me see the screen. They showed me the still grey jelly bean, and the place where the heart should be beating. They showed my blood pulsing through the uterus and placenta – and not through the grey jelly bean.
Then they looked at my ovaries, and showed me the corpus luteum, the place where this baby started, still there, still producing hormones, supporting a baby that will never be. They also showed me other follicles, which they said were fresh ova, waiting to be released.
I looked at them. Maybe one of them would become my baby.
Then they re-presented my options to me – wait to miscarry naturally, get a suppository to induce miscarriage, or have a D&C. They said that the baby was far enough along that they didn’t recommend the suppository option, so really it was wait it out, or D&C.
We already knew what we wanted. We had already waited nearly a week, and who knows how long since the baby actually died.
My options were to do it with nothing but a whackload of ibuprofen, with sedation, or with full anesthesia in the O.R. The first seemed not medicated enough, the last seemed far too medicated. So I asked for sedation.
To get the sedation, I had to go upstairs to a “secure area” where women were having D&Cs for “all sorts of reasons”, so in other words, a shmashmortion clinic.
So they took me up there and PH sat in the waiting room and read the “Men please read” materials there about how to deal with your wife’s shmashmortion.
They ushered me in, told me to take off my bottoms and put on a wrap around skirt and stuff my undies, complete with a pad, in a front pocket for easy access. I hate situations like this because I never know whether they want me to take off my socks. This time I decided to, and they didn’t correct me the way they corrected another girl who took off her shirt. So I guess that was ok.
Then they put in an IV and gave me a bunch of pills to take.
They left me sitting in a little hospital bed for a while under woollen covers, then they took me into a room and had me lay down with my legs in stirrups.
They injected the sedation and inanimate objects began to move a little bit.
I was conscious through the whole procedure, but I wasn’t really aware of it. The nurse had found out through small talk that I work at a vet clinic and was full of questions about what that is like. I think we talked about it through the procedure but I don’t remember anything of the conversation.
I just remember the OB-GYN announcing that it was done after a very short period of time, and he carried a metal bowl out of the room. The sedation made me less afraid to ask the question I thought might horrify them:
“Can I… see it?”
And to my surprise, a casual “sure,” came out of the next room. A few minutes later they brought me a sort of tray or bowl filled with water, with little pinkish bits of stuff floating in it.
They pointed to one strand that looked like all the other strands and said “we think that’s it.”
It didn’t look like anything. Certainly not a baby, not even an embryo. I felt better about the fact that it was being thrown away.
They must have put my underwear on me, or had me put it on myself, but I don’t remember that. I do remember them asking if I needed a wheelchair, but I said I could walk. They led me to my hospital bed, and I lay down and closed my eyes, and tears squeezed out from under my eyelids.
I was comfortable in that sedated space. The fentanyl kept me from feeling any pain. The sedative made me feel pleasantly drifty. I kept drifting off into a sleepy land of no pain, occasionally weeping quietly, and the nurses would stop by now and then to take out my catheter, hand me some crackers and water, check my bleeding and so on.
After about a half an hour they said I could go. I put on my pants and shoes, and shuffled out to the waiting room where PH was waiting. He helped me to the car and took me home.
The pain started in the car as the fentanyl wore off. I wished I had more of that, and more of the sedation, so I could keep drifting in that fuzzy place where sleep seemed to accessible.
Instead I took a bunch of Tylenol 3 (of which we have a lot at home because PH has health issues) and zoned out watching Firefly, trying to keep myself distracted, while PH reheated my magic bag for me occasionally.
It hurt. Not like menstrual cramping, but not as bad as labour either – more like very early labour where you have a dull discomfort interrupted by sudden sharp pains.
The T3s would kick in for a while and then they’d start to wear off and the pain would come back. At one point I actually got up and walked away, half expecting to walk away from the pain, as if it were just an uncomfortable chair or something.
I don’t know whether the pain was really that bad or if there was a psychosomatic component as well. Maybe knowing that it was the ache of my empty womb, the feeling of my body going “wheredafuck did you put my babby?” or “whatthehell just scraped my uterus?” made it worse.
I don’t know.
But I spent the day in front of the TV, which I never really do. When PH finally took over the remote and switched to stuff I didn’t care about, I went to bed. I slept until 8:30 this morning, and I felt better when I woke up.
The pain is mild today. More slight cramping and psychic discomfort. But I’m feeling angry, too.
My baby is gone.
Really, my baby never really was - doomed by bad chromosomes never to have a future: a mistake of mother nature that never had real potential… but I thought I had a baby, I thought it had a future, and god damnit, I want that back.
(Warning: Morbid humour and dark imagery ahead)
So, you may want to ask me, Carol, what’s it like having a dead baby inside you?
It’s a little weird, folks, it’s a little weird.
I’ve never had a standard miscarriage, which I am sure is much more traumatic in many ways.
Our baby loss has come gradually.
On the one hand, I hate having it be drawn out. Our dreams and plans for Christmas have already been dashed, but I can’t put it behind me and move on, because that actual loss of the baby hasn’t happened yet.
On the other hand, it’s helping me draw out the denial stage of grief, which is my favourite stage.
Nor have I been following the stages in a classical manner. This seems to be my progression thus far:
The moment the radiologist left the room, I starting sobbing.
That night, I clutched the little Christmas footie pyjamas I had bought for 0-3 month size and wept into them. PH ended up slipping it from my hands when he came to bed and found me clutching it, and discreetly put it away.
We left Owl with our neighbours for the first hour and a half after we got the news, while we digested it, and cried, and called people. Then, when we went to go get him, I almost talked to them about “when I am on mat leave” before remembering that I won’t be going on mat leave this year.
I went out and bought myself icewine, because if I was going to be sad, I might as well be sad with wine. If I liked raw fish or blue cheese I probably would have picked those up, too.
But it took some mental strength to actually DRINK it. I still felt pregnant (because I WAS still pregnant. With a dead baby) and it took some fortitude to actually take a sip because a part of me was still screaming “No, it could hurt the baby!”
Then, when I went back to work, we had a patient with fleas. I went to grab the siphotrol to spray the hell out of that exam room afterwards, and for a moment I was like “I’ll have to ask someone to do this for me,” before I remembered and grimly surrounded myself with toxic fumes.
It’s just hard for part of me not to hope that twenty minutes of minute examination by trained professionals may have missed the fact that my baby really IS alive after all.
I don’t think this denial is all that unusual, because the woman at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre said that we can request to repeat the ultrasound before going through with the D&C. I guess a lot of women ask “can you please double-check?” in the hopes that their baby might have risen from the dead.
I would take a zombie baby. I’d lovingly spoon-feed it brains and keep it out of the sun and name it Igor if it would just grow and be born.
There are two reasons why PH and I are going for a D&C tomorrow, rather than wait for me to miscarry naturally or take a suppository to try and help it along.
First, a D&C seems like a faster step towards getting it all over with. This lost pregnancy has derailed our plans significantly, and now the earliest we could humanly produce a sibling for Owl is like, March of next year.
Second, we had no idea what to do if I miscarried at home and actually found the embryo. We were both agreed on the fact that we didn’t want to flush it down the toilet like a dead goldfish (even though we know that after the D&C it’ll just get chucked in a bag of biowaste and incinerated).
But, since the D&C isn’t until Tuesday at the earliest, there is the chance that I could miscarry before then (although unlikely, since as we already know, my body takes a lot of coaxing to go into labour).
So then we had to talk about what to do.
PH rejected my suggestion of getting a jar of formalin from work and preserving it (perhaps to donate to a high school or something – we wouldn’t keep it. Uck).
Neither of us wanted to bury it in our backyard because our backyard is on a crumbling retaining wall and will probably have to be ripped up some time in the near future.
Nor did we like the idea (which we found on Google) of putting it in a nice pot and planting a pretty tree or shrub over it. Because we can’t keep plants alive, and then what do you do with a dead plant in your dead baby pot? I wouldn’t want to dig that up to replant something new, would you?
(Then again, maybe all our plants have been lacking in the past has been a couple ounces of human flesh…)
We eventually agreed on burying it under the kitchen window. IF it came out at home, IF we saw it, and IF it was in a remotely entire state.
But the whole thing freaks me out because I AM AFRAID OF DEAD BODIES and now I have one inside me.
Now, mind you, dead babies aren’t really scary, but the radiologist did say that it “looked a little unusual” and was “a little cystic” so I take that to mean that it’s a warped and monstrous thing with, like, two heads or something.
Oh, and according to the lady at the Early Pregnancy Assessment Centre, my baby died at 8 wks 4 days, so probably about a week or so ago (it’s hard to know since the whole reason I went in was because we weren’t sure if I was 9, 10, or 11 weeks pregnant at the time, so it may have died three days before the ultrasound, a week and a half before the ultrasound, or two and a half weeks before the ultrasound…).
So is it, just, like decomposing in there? Because as bonded as I was to the idea of my sweet little Christmas newborn, having a tiny little rotting mutant inside me doesn’t make me feel good at all.
So I may have started Googling aborted embryos at approximately 8 weeks gestation, just so I could get an idea of what I had going on in there.
Some of them were cute. Others were not so cute, usually the ones who had “already probably been dead for a couple of days”. Hell, mine has been dead for a week or more.
I really hope it stays in, because if it comes out I know I’ll examine it in minute detail and that might scar me for life but I wouldn’t be able to help myself.
I think this is just another kind of denial, just a little deeper-down. You see, there are times when I think that I have accepted it. I haven’t cried about it in a couple of days, and I can drink wine or take Tylenol 3 (which I have been taking to help me sleep because f*** health, that’s why) without mentally wincing. Instead of forgetting that I am not having a baby, I am starting to forget that I was having a baby (if that makes sense).
But I don’t think the acceptance real.
For one thing, the whole thing has been very cerebral. I haven’t actually miscarried. I have changed from thinking of the contents of my uterus as an alive and twitching future child into thinking of it as dead mutant tissue, but nothing has physically changed.
I think that having it physically ripped out of me on Tuesday is going to be a shock.
This is the worst part of pregnancy.
It is the worst.
You don’t look pregnant, and you aren’t supposed to yammer about it to everyone you meet, but you walk around thinking “ARGHSDFHDUSI I’M PREGNANT.”
Meanwhile, your baby isn’t doing cute and interesting things like developing ears, sucking its thumb and peeing inside you.
Instead, it’s a tiny little non-cute seamonkey the size of a blueberry who doesn’t even have EYES yet. An EYELESS, non-cute seamonkey that is lucky if it even has a heartbeat yet.
And every time a pregnancy book compares my baby to a fruit I get an uncomfortable mental image of popping it in my mouth.
Anyway, it’s certainly far too early to get excited and start buying tiny pieces of clothing. It doesn’t even feel real yet.
2. Morning sickness.
I thought I might escape it this time, because for the first couple weeks I felt fine and I was like “HA, THEY WERE RIGHT, EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT!” but now it’s starting, and that means the weight gain has started.
That’s right. Weight gain. Because when I have morning sickness, the only thing that staves it off is snacking on easy-to-digest, salty, starchy things like… pretzels. Which means I end up eating half a bag of pretzels and subsequently gain weight. I was totally NOT gaining weight until the nausea started and now I’ve already gained 2 pounds.
And then there’s the world of regret that I live in when I decide, to, say, eat fish and chips for lunch and then spend the next 12 hours feeling like I have the flu, having that restless sleep where you keep dozing off then waking up nauseous.
And then, you can’t call in sick because there’s no point because this “flu” is going to last for MONTHS AND MONTHS.
And as boring and nauseating as the whole thing is, you feel like a jerk if you complain, because you’re in the could-end-in-a-miscarriage-any-second part of pregnancy, the part of pregnancy that is so iffy that people don’t even like to tell other people that they are pregnant in case they have to have the awkward “yeah, I’m not, any more, actually…” conversation with people.
I had a night of severe cramping and it scared the crap out of me. I kept checking my underwear for spotting. I wrapped a magic bag around my middle and hoped for the best, and it passed, and the morning sickness arrived.
And I was grateful. To be nauseous.
Seriously, the worst part of pregnancy.
PH and I need to have a girl next time because we can’t work out a boy name. We’ve vetoed each other’s favourites (with the exception of Owl’s name, a favourite of mine that PH didn’t mind) and cautiously accepted as “maybes” some other suggestions.
Girl names are easier.
We worked out several possible girl names as well as Owl’s name before we even got engaged. We know the name of our future girl.
So this time, we’re going to try to have a girl.
When I found out that Owl was a boy, I had a lot of mixed emotions. On the one hand, I have always wanted a boy. Whenever I dreamed of babies, they were boys. I LOVE little boys. I’m not so hot on little girls. They’re manipulative and often shallow and obsessed with their Barbies’ hair.
So I was glad I was getting my boy.
But PH wanted a girl. PH isn’t big on men in general. He likes and admires all things female.
So I was concerned that he was disappointed.
He has never expressed any disappointment – he loved Owl from the moment he laid eyes on him – but he has teased me about the fact that I got my boy.
“Hey, it’s your sperm that determines the gender,” I would say defensively.
“I gave you millions of girl sperms! You picked THIS one!”
It was all a big joke, but I got hired on Elance to write a series of articles about selecting your baby’s gender earlier this year and I learned a few things:
1. While the gender is in fact determined by the man’s sperm, the woman’s body has final say on which gender it produces.
2. Boys are slightly more common than girls, 51% of babies being boys.
3. The world is full of myths about timing your intercourse to have a certain gender, assuming certain positions etc and all of this is completely unsubstantiated by modern science.
4. Women (and other female mammals) who are stressed, eating low fat or low calorie diets, or living in crowded situations, tend to de-select males, and start producing more females. The effect can be as much as 60-80% females born over males. Women who eat high calorie diets experience the opposite – 60% more males than females.
The idea is that if resources are low, females are a better bet. We only need ONE male to repopulate the world, but we need a lot more women. Also, since male babies require more calories to make, a female is easier to put together if there isn’t a lot of food to go around.
Male blastocysts also appear to be less hardy – they don’t absorb sugar as well from the uterine environment and are less likely to survive to implant in the uterine wall if the mother’s blood sugars aren’t stable.
The difference is such that just skipping breakfast can affect your chances of having a boy.
So…. guess what I’m doing?
I’m back on My Fitness Pal, logging my calories, and I’m skipping breakfast.
I’m not cutting back on calories dramatically. After all, if a woman is starving she’s not likely to conceive at all, and honestly a second boy would not be the end of the world. PH would love him and still consider our family complete.
But I would like a girl, too. First, I’ve done the boy thing and now I’d like to try the girl thing. Second, while I’m not big on little girls, I would like to have a grown daughter some day.
Plus I just like experimenting with science, especially science that motivates me to lose weight.
So I’m on a restricted, but not unreasonable, low calorie diet and skipping breakfast.
Que sera, sera.
At least I can tell PH that I tried!
…And yes, I will stop the low calorie diet the moment that second line forms on the pregnancy test.
We are a culture of too many cultures.
Canada prides itself on being a “salad bowl” (as opposed to America’s “melting pot”). We don’t strive to assimilate. We believe in leaving each other alone.
And so, there are pockets of Vancouver where people don’t bother to use English signs, and despite the fact that our official languages are English and French, a working knowledge of Korean will get you a lot further if you live in Richmond, BC.
Child rearing is the same.
We all just raise our kids the way we see fit, from the yoga-pants-wearing-stroller-moms, to the Japanese mom I met at the airport whose 10 year old son still slept with her at night – totally normal to the Japanese.
There are certain pressures levelled at us, mostly around the time of birth, from the government. Since we all contribute to a government health plan, and all our medical bills are paid out of that, the government takes an active interest in whether we breastfeed, whether we let our child sleep with blankets, and so on.
They know that a formula fed child is more likely to have ear infections, allergies, asthma, and so on. In other words, they know that a formula fed child will cost them more money. So they push breastfeeding pretty heavily, from the forms you have to sign acknowledging their lectures, to the massive posters all over the hospitals.
They also know that a baby who sleeps away from his parents is more likely to die of SIDS (and therefore not become a contributing tax payer someday) but that a child who sleeps WITH his parents may be smothered, so they push the “near-you-but-not-in-bed-with-you” sleeping arrangement.
They give mothers a year (or fathers six months) off of work on unemployment insurance benefits to care for the baby.
They push vaccines.
But none of that seems to have really made much impact on our culture… er, cultures. Some women breastfeed. Most try, at least. But the ones who were pretty sure they wanted to do formula usually do switch to formula shortly after leaving the hospital. Many, like me, discover that co-sleeping is easier and just take care not to smother their baby.
Basically, we go back to doing our own thing.
In a way, this is nice. It’s nice to be able to raise your child the way you want, without much interference.
On the other hand, there’s no cohesive bond. We have no collective set of childrearing rules, so what do you do when someone else’s child starts misbehaving?
I once saw a passing old lady grab a teenage boy by the ear when she spotted him littering. She made him pick it up and take it to the garbage – a total stranger.
Once upon a time, that would have been normal. Everyone disciplines everyone’s children based on a mutually agreed on set of rules. If your kid is out of sight, you can bet that whatever adult is around will continue to enforce standards of politeness and appropriate behaviour.
We don’t have that now.
Now, I don’t know what to do when someone’s kid walks up to me and says something insulting, while the mother smiles indulgently.
Now, I have to worry that someone will let my own kid do the same some day, when I’m not around to stop it.
I want my child learning sign language, and not watching TV. The people across the road, who are awesome, don’t care about their toddler watching TV and can’t be bothered with sign language.
Neither of us are right, or wrong.
But it can make conversation awkward.
We are all raising our children in Canada, but what culture are they being raised in?
Do we even have one?
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