30 Minutes of Crying – It is, After All, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I asked Jim to make this year’s Christmas party invitation into a video. He took the 20 pictures and 2 songs I gave him and made a short movie for me to send out. But he also made me a 60 minute DVD of family Christmas video moments.

Oh my.  The first tears fell when I saw my sister, Bean, on camera.  She was a younger, healthier version in the video than the one we lost 7 years ago.  In her mid-20’s on the video, you could still see the ravages of the condition she suffered from, but she was moving more spryly and speaking more clearly.

Then there was the very first Christmas I was a mom.  My tiny Brighid lay bundled in an afghan made by my Grandmom Fee, squeaking in her teeny baby voice that it was time to get up and see what this Christmas thing was all about.  Yeah, I cried my eyes out during that part, too.

There was the voice of my father-in-law, Custy, who we lost the year before Bean died; and my beloved dog Lucy, who died at the ripe old age of nine when Brighid was about seven.

In the video was my sister Megan, who has grown up to be a beautiful, amazing, and incredibly strong woman; but she’s only 13 in the video.

And there are pictures of my Mom – even younger than she is in the photo above with Megan – crawling on the floor with Baby Brighid.  She is a much healthier version of her present self in the video, and it’s a Mom I miss so, so much.  I pray every day she gets some of her strength and lust for life back.

My mom and stepdad

Christmases past.  The memories are as sweet as the most delicious Christmas cookies.  But the regret as real as that which Ebeneezer himself experienced.  We let too much get away from us.  In our efforts to wrap the most presents to put under the tree, or prepare the biggest feast, or decorate the tallest fir, we forget how valuable the moments with our family and friends will be when the moments slip away.

Enjoy each other this holiday season.  Put down the Wii-mote; turn off the television; back away from the computer; and as hard as it may be, place the camera on the shelf.  Live in the moment, love each other, and cherish the season.

Boobs or Busted – Indonesian Women May Face Jail for Not Breastfeeding

I know this post may take on a decidedly anti-breastfeeding tone, and I am trying very hard to make it so that it doesn’t.

But threatening to send women to prison for not breastfeeding?  Are you serious?

I whole heartedly concur with those people who say breast is best.  I have no trouble conceding the fact that breast milk is exactly what babies need in terms of vitamins, nutrition, and nurturing.

But what if this is something you can’t do?

When Brighid was born, at 31 weeks, she wasn’t able to nurse.  They fed her through an NG tube so that she didn’t burn calories working to get something to eat – and at 2 pounds, 10 ounces, calories were crucial.  They pumped her full of a special, high caloric, super fat formula, designed to help put some meat on her tiny bones and help her body regulate it’s temperature better.  I tried to pump, but in many frustrating hours of effort, the best I did was an ounce.

Then there was Eilis.  With a terrible case of jaundice, it was all we could do to keep that kid awake for anything – even feeding.  She had a good latch right from the start, but would only stay latched a few seconds before drifting off to sleep.  They encouraged me to pump, and I did it like a champ.  She was exclusively fed breast milk for 6 months, and it was damn hard work I was proud to do.  But then I just didn’t have anything left.  I was exhausted, I was having to pump more often to have enough milk to sustain her growth, and I had no time for sleep.  I had gone from waking up every hour and a half when she was in her first few weeks of life to having to get up every hour, pump for 20 minutes, and pray I had enough milk to get through the next day!  Thank goodness she took to food so well, and the transition to formula was so smooth.  I’d be dead and buried from sleep deprivation!

And poor Granuaile was born at a time when my dad was seriously ill.  I spent as much time running back and forth to see him as I did at home with my brand new baby, and by the time my dad passed away when Granuaile was six weeks old, I had already failed.  Emotionally drained and physically exhausted, my body rebelled against putting energy into much – including feeding a child.

Should I have gone to jail?  Should I have faced fines of more than $10,000?

And what if I lived in Indonesia, where after my three months of paid maternity leave, I have to go back to work?  My family depends on my income, and with it we are still living at or below poverty level.  Should I be concerned that if I can’t maintain my milk supply because I am trying to take care of a family that I will end up in prison?

There is not a huge amount of support in the workplace in Indonesia for these women to take breaks and pump.  And while the new law includes a requirement mandating employer compliance, giving a woman a chair in a room with an electrical outlet doesn’t mean they’ll be bending over backwards to accommodate a nursing mother.

The law puts tremendous pressure on women who are probably already torn between the needs of their baby and the needs of their family.  Now that it comes down to pitting the law against them if they make the choice that serves the better interest of their whole families, the stress is immeasurable.

Does this smack in the face of women being allowed to do what they want with their own bodies?

Bullying in Demi Lovato’s Past May Have Led To Her Present Issues

Did bullying lead Demi Lovato to cutting and an eating disorder? I am truly sad for her.

On this morning’s news, they reported that Demi Lovato had checked herself into an inpatient therapeutic treatment center for “physical and emotional” issues.  They went on to elaborate that she MAY be seeking treatment for cutting herself and for an eating disorder.

It’s not news that Hollywood puts tremendous pressure on young people to conform to a certain standard – a standard which is unrealistic by any stretch of the imagination.  Perfect hair, skin and teeth that all sit atop a perfect body.

But they alluded to the fact that Demi’s condition may not have begun since one of Disney’s Pop Princesses became famous.  Demi was one of those kids mercilessly bullied as she was growing up, and that may have contributed to her current issues.

Look at this kid, will ya?

What the hell could someone find to bully her about?  Gorgeous hair, perfect smile, beautiful skin – this is a dark haired version of a Barbie Doll.  She’s beautiful!

I applaud her for recognizing the need for treatment – and for not bowing to what must have been incredible pressure to stay on her current Jonas Brothers tour.  Let’s hope that the help she gets now keeps her out of the trouble that befalls not only so many other young celebrities, but also the fate that many bullied young people succumb to.

Get well, Demi.