Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Labor, Delivery and More Stuff We're Never Really Prepared For

Talking to my oldest son for almost three hours made me want to furiously pound out what you are about to read. Having long conversations like this is not something we do ordinarily, as he is a young man doing his own thing for the most part now a days. Him sharing himself with me is welcomed and sad at the same time or more like bittersweet because I know that this willingness to connect comes from a place of contempt just a few short years ago. As parents, we all go through our teenagers struggles to get to the end of the rainbow we know exists but what seems too good to be true in the midst of those battles with them, but it is something we all anticipate eagerly. We all think "it's got to end sometime... right?" And it does, eventually and that's when these kinds of conversations that happened tonight, signal the end of what we thought we'd never make it through. The teenage years is probably the most excruciating mental experience loving, caring parents will ever have with their children. But the most excruciating physical experience women will ever face is labor and delivery.

That emotional pain I went through to deliver my boy is probably what made me think of the physical pain and torture I went through almost 19 years ago. In reflection, life always seems to bring you the best moments after all the worst times. It's not because you appreciate them more because of the hardship, it's just that you get a breather and are glad to feel some happiness and good times again.You do appreciate it, for sure, but more than anything, I think it's a sense of relief too. You've got smooth sailing for a bit.

Motherhood is filled with so many experiences and emotions, good and bad. From beginning to end, it is a never-ending responsibility of love and commitment. And a responsibility that also brings great joy when the seed demonstrates it has absorbed some of what its mother has tried to impart to her brood over the years. But experiencing the thing that actually brings them into this life is something that is rarely is talked about other than 'oh... you're going to have a baby... how wonderful!' They don't tell you about all the things that would want to make you turn right around and say 'NO WAY!'

Finding out about having a baby fills you with incredible joy at the possibility of a new life (or maybe incredible despair?), but in my case it was filled with joy and anticipation for the emergence of a life that would change our lives for the better. After that, the rest of the pregnancy becomes moments of absolute joy mixed with moments of 'what the fuck have I gotten myself into?' and then back again for feelings of total joy. Back aches, waddling, incontinence, heart burn... oh yeah, so much joy!

When the 'Labor Day' arrived with its intense prodding for about 14 hours, I was convinced I had made a huge mistake. During those hours, I vacillated between excruciating pain and joy at the prospect of finally meeting the little one who had brought so many different emotions into my life. Before I really could dwell on those reflective moments, I was too involved in the serious pain I was experiencing. What the hell was I thinking? There was no way I could go through with what the nurse and midwife said was going to happen next! But I did and the experiences after that, made me realize that I could do absolutely anything I put my mind to. Seriously, ladies, pay attention! The pain is EXCRUCIATING! It's a watermelon coming through a golf ball sized hole. Think about that.

Once my first son was born, though, I  never looked back at those moments of doubt of being able to successfully deliver a child and seriously, never gave the moments of pain, struggle, cussing or agony another moment of diligent concern except that first night. I kept reliving the unbearable pain and just couldn't shut my brain down long enough to get any sleep. I certainly thought about it from time to time and admittedly, it was terribly hard to endure at the time but I really never was concerned about it again. After my first son's birth, all I could think of when it was over was 'I'm a mom now.' My son's health and welfare were the absolute most important thing in my life. He was the most important thing in the world and nothing would change that.

After about 4 weeks of continual screaming, no calming down and a complete rejection of his mother in the sense that it wasn't all peaches and cream like everyone said it would be, I realized that it was hard to be a mom. But I also knew that I loved my son more than ever. He taught me what it meant to be committed to another human being, in spite of all the hardships you would need to endure in order to ensure their health and well-being. He also taught me what it meant to be a parent and to give a shit even when it was hard to endure. That is something for which I will be eternally grateful to my first son for.

Within a year of having my son, I also found out that I didn't want his apathetic father to be a part of the picture that I called 'my family.' We divorced and then it was just me and my little man. After that, we had two years of intense struggles, two years of incredible joy and two years of finding out that it takes more than just wanting things to be good for them to actually be good.

I was perfectly content to never be pregnant again OR be involved in a committed relationship with another of the male species besides my son. The experience of marriage had truly tainted me to want to remain solo, forever and the experience of giving birth was also something that I never desired to have again, ever. I was actually contemplating getting my tubes tied when the next phase of my life began.

After almost two years and a few months, a man emerged on the scene, that quite frankly, neither of us expected. He took our breath away and showed us the possibility of a normal life. I know I jumped at the chance, but equally happy, was my son. He seemed to truly enjoy the presence of this man over what he had encountered from my other attempts at a stabilizing force in our family.

My new man and I decided to forge an enduring relationship and within months I became pregnant for the second time. It was only a mere 6 months after meeting Mr. Wonderful that I got the news of the second round of being an expectant mother. I can honestly say that I was very happy until I got acid indigestion, really wobbly and achy hips, as well as, the high-blood pressure, which forced an induced labor prior to my due date. But it was shortly before the birth of my second child that I also realized I would have to experience the agony of childbirth and well, happiness faded quickly. Not just faded, I had panic attacks remembering the pain that went along with the delivery of my first son. I can't believe how quickly I considered having drugs at my disposal, when that was the furthest thing from my mind the first time around.

The labor went relatively quickly. Much quicker than my first labor, but also much more intense, as the second son was about two pounds, two ounces heavier. Meaning his head and body were way frickin' bigger than the first, which translated into way more pain! And when I mean pain, I mean the transition period was almost unbearable. The last contraction was the one from hell and that one I endured for 45 minutes! It sounds unbelievable, but it really lasted that incredible amount of time. During the last push, I was so eager to have him out of me that I literally stopped breathing and only pushed. The doctor and the man of my dreams, who put me in this position, had to scream at me to start breathing. I was depriving my baby of oxygen and as noted on the chart, it ended up being a 'violent birth' because that poor boy was literally slammed through my birth canal in order to attempt a more expeditious birth. Labor sucks, don't let anybody tell you any different.

Once he was out there, though, I was one of the most serene moms. I was so proud of myself, but also, my mate; his DNA contributed to another part of who I could love. We were a complete nuclear family now, not married, but complete. And for sure, I was never going to go through that again.The experiences of childbirth (in both cases) I felt, were pretty traumatic, but in talking to so many woman since then who have gone through the experience, mine were apparently a piece of cake. I guess I should consider myself lucky. Regardless, I'm glad that I never had to find out if a third time would have been the charm.

It's been 15 years now since the birth of my second son. I think I'm reflecting on child birth at this very moment, not only because it seems something I needed to share with the women out there who don't really get told what childbirth entailed but because my second son is entering that dreaded phase of teenagedom; meaning another round of pain and struggles to endure that will eventually pass and he'll end up a loving young man. Luckily, one child has passed out of it a bit; maybe enough to make this ride a little more tolerable. It's all about cycles, the never ending of them; like our periods. Well, they'll end too, I'm a witness to that and something I've already spoken to.

So yes, ladies, these cycles of life are a bitch to get through, at times, but do it anyway because what you get in the end of not only what you endured during labor, but also, what you endure in the process of raising them, is a connection that will last forever. It is so deep that you think you cannot ever get your breath, but then you realize they give you a whole new type of oxygen to rely on. It propels you into being something you never thought you could. It's hard work, but it's also magic at times and incredibly wonderful and fulfilling in a way that you'd never even imagined.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Doubt - Faith = Truth

 "TRUTH Will not be destroyed by questioning or scrutiny. It will always stand unbeatable. Questioning only confirms TRUTH and makes it visibly stronger; it never crumbles!"
This little dandy turned up on my Facebook page today and I would agree with its logical message, but not its intended message. You see this was posted by someone whose humanity and generosity I value but her relationship with god is something I will never understand. Having full-on debates on this subject with her would undermine an otherwise nice friendship, so I try to refrain but it doesn't always happen. Having said that, I just went back and posted "from the perspective of the scientific community, questioning separates truth from falsehood because you prove something with evidence. but you need to come from the standpoint of 'i don't know' vs. 'i know for a fact.' It hopefully conveyed the point that if you view things from the perspective that you already have the answers to everything, that can and does distort the conclusions you take away from it because you never really accept the findings in the questions you get answers to. That is why critical thinking and looking at things from a skeptical, scientific perspective or myth-busting mentality has a much better chance of finding out 'the truth' about things. Believing that you absolutely, positively, unequivocally have all the answers and you are positively right and you know without a shadow of a doubt about something, is what will continually fuel the fire of religious/non-believer debate and divisiveness in this country.

Let's start by defining what truth is:


1. The quality or state of being true: "the truth of her accusation".
2. That which is true or in accordance with fact or reality: "tell me the truth".

#2 is pretty much what myself and billions of people define it to be - 'to be in accordance with fact or reality.'

Now, if you look at the quote above (coming from the perspective of believing in a god), all it is doing is saying faith (belief in the truth of god) is something that evidence or questioning will never overturn. That's not truth! That's just a play on words way of fucking with what truth actually is - evidence that supports an assertion about something! Just asserting that there is a god is not evidence; that's just a BELIEF there is a god.

I think there are probably four kinds of people when it comes to faith - not having any of it kind, empty inside always looking for anything outside of themselves for meaning kind, questioning continuously kind and then the die-hard 'I'm in it for the long haul' kind. The first and third kind are definitely able to distinguish between fact and fantasy; the empty inside kind possibly might be disillusioned enough to accept using reason and logic after trying one too many different religions on, only to realize it doesn't take faith to get by in this world.

But how do you convince someone with die-hard faith to look at things from a rational and logical perspective? Well, it would require a desire on their part to want to, first of all, and that is the key thing... they don't want to because it would require challenging a belief. Who, after years of saying 'my god is an awesome god' and other just faithy things, will ever stop and put aside that claim? If they did, they would feel foolish once they put aside the faith. I'm guessing that not wanting to feel foolish would win out because embarrassment is such a hard thing to deal with. They will defend, against all costs, their belief, in order to not have to admit they were wrong. Well, that, and there have been studies done to that effect. I would love to put my hands on it right now to include as a hyper-link, but it escapes me. If you seriously want it, I will find it for you! 

I think it's better to be coming at anything, and especially religion, from a rational and logical perspective or scientific perspective, whichever you prefer calling it. You don't make any presumptions, there are no claims to make like 'I know this is the only Truth!' - you take a look at the facts and then draw conclusions. You don't have an opinion on things one way or the other, you have a theory and then you go about proving it. The more evidence that backs up the claim, either conclusively or continually, that then is changing something from an assumption to a reality or a truth.

Let me make clear, as much as I think we should question things continually, we are entitled to opinions on any subject matter, but an opinion is a belief and we all have them, including me! I do not believe there is a god based on what I see around me, what I have gleened from reading the bible or educating myself with the vast amount of information available to me. Coming at religion and belief from a strictly logical perspective has not convinced me that god exists, that the bible is non-fiction or that there is a heaven or hell that I should be afraid of because it's so ILLOGICAL to believe any of this stuff. But guess what? I could be wrong! Does it change how I feel - no, but the difference between me and a die-hard faith kind is that I have absolutely no problem with a) admitting when I'm wrong, b) keep asking questions and c) keep defining truth.

Faith + Truth + Doubt = Faith

When you start with a conclusion as the only truth, faking questioning is lying to yourself that you are trying to uncover the truth.

Doubt + Truth = Tries to Find Truth

When you start with 'I don't know' you are open to looking at all perspectives and then proving which perspective is truth using reason and logic. But even then, you might not find truth because it might not be able to be proven, so it's not truth yet!

Doubt - Faith = Truth  *my favorite equation
If someone of faith would seriously look at things with a mind that is open to the possibility of a different interpretation of truth that is founded on science or better yet, put their belief aside for a moment and come at it from the perspective of a sponge that has no knowledge of spiritual things AND THEN look at evidence that has been proven valid enough to give you reasonable and logical doubt; then doubt would bring them to a place called reality.

Here's hoping that striving for reality is always something that all people would agree, is a good place to live in.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still raging about the hypocrisy of religion

Recently, I was enjoying reading the May edition of Freethought Today, but then I came across the "Black Collar Crime Blotter" which totally turned my stomach and sent my blood pressure sky-high because of the many, many cases of sexual abuse involving children. To give you some perspective, it was approximately two and half newspaper-sized pages filled with local, national and international incidents of arrested/charged, civil lawsuits filed & settled, legal developments, allegations made, removed/resigned instances, pleaded/convicted & sentenced individuals. It covered a wide spectrum of criminal activity - rape, assault, breaking & entering, embezzlement, fraud, kidnapping, etc. The predominant crimes were sexual in nature and again, many of the offenses occurred primarily with children.

With the child abuse issue, I'm hopeful that the eventual demise of religion will also bring an end to the ongoing assault on the innocent children who are raped and molested by the clergy that have a predilection for easily overpowered children they use as sex toys. As much notoriety as this subject has received over these last few years though, it certainly doesn't seem to have abated. This continues to be a issue for me that grates deep in my soul with each new story that I come across. The lost innocence of those children prohibits them from experiencing what was supposed to be a happy time in their lives; childhood years they deserved and needed to become healthy, vibrant adults.

It is infuriating to see the the acts committed against children but also, the wide range of criminal offenses committed by these people who claim to be beholden to a higher standard! A standard, I might add, that certain people of faith hold us in contempt for because we choose not to believe in the imaginary guy in the sky. I know I already went off on my recent blog about the hypocrisy of religion, but seeing this Crime Blotter shows me, once again, they are nothing what they claim to be; but we, the atheists, are the bad guys in their eyes! It just pisses me off!!! How about you good christianists clean up your own house before you malign others?

In a perfect world, there is no religion, there is no hate, there is no crime, and everybody just lives a happy, comfortable life. I'd settle for one where people just stop acting as if they were better than everybody else, but in reality, are lower than the scum that sticks to my shoes.

Oh, who am I kidding? I want the perfect world.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I'd like a little honesty with that Weiner, please...

Anthony Weiner showed us that he has a sexual side. Some may say he's a deviant and wrong because he sexted it. He accidentally let all his followers know of his erect status instead of just the one intended person. And as the days go by we find out that it goes much further than that. What more will be brought to light is anybodies guess, but frankly, I couldn't care less. However he needs to get off is his business... well, his and his wife's, actually. They, really, are the only two people this should involve.

I don't think what he did was deviant or wrong, it just is. It's his private life and how he chooses to live it, doesn't concern me. Just as I wouldn't expect anybody to care about what goes on in my bedroom, I really don't care what goes on in his. However, the media does... well, maybe not mine, but certainly Mr. Weiner's and now he's got a whole big mess to deal with because of it.

His ordeal is something I wouldn't wish on anybody, but unfortunately, when you are a public figure, everything comes under scrutiny and judgment. The question is... does he deserve all this though? I firmly believe the tweet part and his sex-capades are his business and should not have warranted all the press or calls for resignation.  Especially if it turns out this has really all been done privately. For lying directly to all our faces and seriously thinking that we would just swallow those lies; there he has crossed a line that puts him in the 'untrustworthy as a representative' category and for that, he does deserve this attention. And frankly, I don't feel sorry for him. He had an opportunity to come clean and he chose to be an idiot about it.

As difficult or as embarrassing as it may have seemed at the time when the tweet originally went out, I really think he could have changed the discussion from 'what's he trying to hide?' to 'how about a little respect for my privacy?' had he only been honest to begin with. He could have possibly become the first politician to just admit to an oops! and say "Yeah, that's my crotch. Beauty, ain't it? By the way, it was done on my time and it's my business." At the very least, it would have been brushed off as a joke and he would have successfully beat the Breitbart's of the world to the punchline and diffused this whole situation.

The discussion would then have been about his right to privacy versus him being an out and not so proud liar, in addition to the private details of his sex life. He still may be a deviant to some, but at least his integrity would still be intact. Well, maybe not even that, considering the attitude of  some people. I speak of the crowd that considers anything to do with sex as immoral if it occurs outside of procreation.They seem to go all besides themselves whenever it happens otherwise. I think deep down it's a cover-up for jealousy, but that's another topic.

I would have had so much respect for the man, had he done that. And I believe, many other citizens across this country would have appreciated it as well. Hell, he might have even started a trend of having honesty put back into a place that sorely needs it. Wouldn't that be something? People who are serious about their politics would perk up their ears, that's for sure. "What? A new brand of politician? He's honest, you say?"

Let me think on that fantasy for a moment. One of a Senate and House of Representatives full of honest officials, representing us and what is in the best interest of this country; and one where their sex lives are nobodies business but theirs. I'm savoring it...Because reality will set in much too soon.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The G in Governor Obviously Stands for God-fearing Rick Perry

Can I tell you how disturbing the news of a government sanctioned event 'The Response: A call to prayer for a nation in crisis' is to me? VERY DISTURBING and I hope for you as well! It goes without saying that praying is a complete waste of time, but also, Christians and non-believers who couldn't give a rat's ass about this, don't understand the basics of separation of church and state.

I get it, that some people need to pray... SO PRAY! Have at it - it's on a Saturday and if that's how you want to spend your day, then do it. It would be wrong of me to stop you from insisting that you do. Actually, that is your constitutional right, just like it's mine to not pray because I think it's a silly waste of time. However, the last time Rick Perry clasped his hands together and thought the mere action of asking for it would bring it to him.... well, you can see how well that worked. See Drought Monitor... Dumb ass. This video, Tool time: Rick Perry, Living on a Prayer? says it very well.

Had Rick Perry decided to lend his name to the event as Rick Perry and not Governor Rick Perry, sent out a blanket invite to all citizens of the United States that felt the need to get on their knees, if they so cared to, and not just to the other governors to beg their Lord God to get us out of this mess that mortal men have created; then, I would have not had one single objection. The American Family Association can spend their hard-earned (or as I like to say 'wrestled from the fingers of the people easily manipulated and most desperately suffering from the effects that their man-leaders of the real world have created') cash anyway they like. But the fact is that he didn't do it this way and chose to act as if doing his 'real job' (what he's getting a paycheck to do, along with all the other elected officials) doesn't take precedence over a pray fest... this is what's smoking my ass at the moment.

Why is he in office? Why doesn't he just get ordained and open a fucking church? We elect people to local, national and federal government positions to work for the people - ALL people and that includes Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Christians, Wiccans, Buddhists, Hare Krishna's, Scientologists and so on. What part of the First Amendment do these people NOT GET?? So, I'll say it again, a government sanctioned event LED by a representative of supposedly ALL people crosses the line of separation of church and state.

If you are as disgusted as I am, then do something, anything. Here's a place to start - Secular Coalition for America. And if you are in the Houston Area, join the protest.

The picture above pretty much says how I feel about religion. If you have faith in something other than your own abilities, it should be a private thing and it's a protected right for you to have, but it doesn't give you the right to inject it into the lives of those who aren't so inclined. Continue to surround yourselves in whatever bubbles your bath, but stay out of my BATHROOM! I'm tired of seeing religion so intermingled with our government, the government that supposedly belongs to ALL the people!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'll get through this...

After yet another incredibly tragic loss of a good night's sleep, I'm moved to write a piece about this lovely condition we call menopause, peri-menopause... the pause that is giving me fits at the moment. Hopefully, letting out all the frustration associated with it will give you some comedy and me some well-needed comedic relief. At least until I go to bed again tonight.

Today, I will be like a woman who has the ability to look forward to delivering more children even after experiencing the pain of labor and delivery. Like them, I will distract myself from recent hardships endured until it's time for bed and then realize, all over again, what I will be forced to 'labor' through about two hours in to the recurring experience.

The disruption of the sleep cycle and the many, many nights I experience them, is the hardest part of dealing with this change in my life. Lack of good sleep is creating, literally, a monster. My poor husband is usually the benefactor of 'the face', the grumblings and lack of intelligible communication I put forth, what little I do after experiencing yet one more night of sweating, heart palpitations, dreaming about entire other lives and obviously not sleeping.

For you ladies out there who are or have gone through what I'm experiencing, you will be sympathetic. If you've already cycled through this part of your life, you may even just chuckle and respond with a 'been there, done that, glad I don't have to do it again' smile. Up and coming young ones, take heed you could very well end up repeating my adventures.

It goes a little like this....

Tired from the restless night before, I'm looking forward to sleeping deep and uneventful. My husband rolls over to kiss me goodnight and is hopeful for me that tonight is the night that it will happen. As I lay there, I yawn and rub my arm and touch my chest and wonder if I will ever just feel soft again or am I destined to always feel sticky at  night after many, many rounds of hot flashes experienced during the day.

Falling asleep is not a problem for me. Count to ten and I'm there. My problems usually start after about two hours. Angrily, I wake up to a really ridiculous dream, where I'm inevitably in a situation where a hot atmosphere is surrounding me. I know what is about to play out and my wish is that my body and I aren't fighting with this all night long.

Upon awakening, the covers are immediately thrown off and I realize that my ceiling fan above isn't working at plane engine speed. Groan, groan, groan... heat pours over my face, my arms and down my body after rising up from deep in the middle of my chest. Sweat dribbles off my forehead and I feel slightly moistened over the rest of my body. After the initial explosion of heat, my face slowly gets cooler along with the rest of the body, back down to a normal temperature. This seems like an eternity but in reality is usually all over in a few minutes. The prickling that comes after the burn, or as I like to call it, the agitation of my poor blood vessels and sweat glands, is yet another experience that adds fuel to my ever deteriorating cheery disposition. Next up, the heart palpitations make an entrance, as the receding heat and sweat evaporate from my body. This, thankfully, also lasts a very short period, but brings with it a spiked feeling of anger. As the palpitations lessen, the heat is replaced with a chill from being exposed to the fan rotating above me, necessitating blankets being pulled up again. As I bundle up, I await the next venture into slumber and hopefully, this episode being the last one for the night.

On a good night, it will only happen once, but during a particularly bad phase, I can be up every 2 hours. Each episode making me crankier and less lovable after I wake up. Oh joy.

To be fair, definitely not as intense as hard labor, but still as intrusive, oppressive and really not necessary. Seriously, I'm stopping the ability to have a period every month, why must the resulting symptoms be of such discomfort. Why can't the periods just stop? Really. Just go away and be done with it, no need to drag this out! I'm seriously fine without all this shit.

Of all the things that burn my ass the most, though, it's that during this time in my life where I'm experiencing more peace and ease within myself, my kids are grown for the most part, I'm mature, I've learned a lot and I'm just in an all around better mental state; my physical state threatens to overturn all those wonderful milestones that have been achieved. Aargh! Enough already! I want to get back to enjoying my life!

These pissed off feelings about my situation will last a few moments longer and then I will do the dance of accepting, go about my day, muster up the strength to forge ahead and make the best of it. I'll be okay by dinner time, maybe, if it isn't at the end of a seriously long week of dealing with it. Today, it will be a bit of a struggle. Thankfully, most of the time, my body usually does realize when enough is enough and gives me what I need right when I almost can't deal with it anymore. And if not, drugs will do the trick and keep me out from the time I hit the pillow till the morning light. Yeah, modern medicine!

I've read that it could be a year or two AFTER the last period that women still experience these personal short trips to the tropics, so I'm thinking 2012 will be my year! Oh, no, but the world is supposed to end December 21, 2012... or was that October 21, 2011? Either way... fuck me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Another good one by my own personal hero

"When one person suffers from a delusion, it's called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it's called Religion."  Richard Dawkins