Tag Archives: emotions


Some studies claim that up to 35% of pregnancies may end in miscarriage, usually so early that women assume they are having a normal period or one a few days late. For thousands of women who do know when they are miscarrying, it can be an emotional time.

Our bodies, it seems, does trial runs. Most miscarriages occur in the first three months, and in more than half of those chomosomal abnormalities have been found in the embryo.

But telling someone who has just had a miscarriage that “It was probably for the best,” or “Maybe something was wrong,” is not terribly helpful, even if it is true. Realising that you are pregnant, even if it was an accident, even if it was not really wanted, can be life changing. Suddenly you are responsible for a life, a person.

It can make you think long and hard about your own life. The hormonal changes alone, that weird feeling of love for someone who does not quite exist yet but for a few cells stuck together; the biological thing. It does stuff to normal, logical women, makes us feel ancient urges and whispers “Mama?” in our ear.

My first pregnancy was unplanned, and my initial feelings were “Well, this will complicate things.” My husband and I were not yet married, and I was not yet ready. Being pregnant, though, changed everything. I suddenly saw myself as a mother. When I lost my baby at three months, I was only just coming to terms with it. I was devastated. My doctor gave me lousy advice: “Forget all about it. Move on, it was never a viable pregnancy.” I wondered how there could have been a foetus, an actual boy, if there had never been a viable pregnancy. But I took his advice to heart. I moved on, stoically. Sean and I did not discuss our loss. We should have felt happy. We had everything we wanted, a wedding to plan, our future looked bright.

When we decided to go ahead and begin our family, I conceived quickly and had a dream: I dreamed that I went back to the hospital where I had gone when I had my miscarriage, and asked the nurses for my baby. I was ashamed: what kind of mother forgets her baby at the hospital? But the staff there had no idea what I was talking about. I became more and more frantic, searching the rooms and calling for help, and finally woke up sobbing for the baby that I had abandoned. I finally grieved for the real baby boy that I had carried in my heart all that time. I had been feeling guilty for so long… had I lost my baby because I didn’t want him? Just walked away from the hospital and left him there? What has happened to him? Had they thrown him away? What kind of a mother was I?

It is difficult to know what to say to someone who has suffered a similar loss. But one day, someone told me something so beautiful: “There are some souls, who have a very difficult journey. Their past lives have been filled with suffering of the worst kind, and they have more ahead. Sometimes, it becomes too much, and they need to be held for a while; warm, nourished and loved; before they can move on. Your baby knew no pain, no anger, no fear, no sadness, no hunger, no cold. You were chosen for this job… that baby chose you, and you chose him, because you could give love to a possibility, a dream, under any conditions. We special women who are chosen this way have been blessed, and those little souls thank us as they leave us.”

Another wise woman told me that even when we miscarry in the midst of feeling negative about becoming a mother, or have to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy, the soul who has chosen that journey understands our decision and helps us to learn from the experience. It is a two-way gift.

I choose to believe all of this, and the medical community can stuff it. It makes me feel better. It makes me feel that there is a purpose, beyond the negative “something was wrong in the chromosomes.” It isn’t logical, but perhaps there is a reason to love every possibility, and embrace our dream babies. They are important.

I love my baby boy, who came into my life so briefly and made me a better mother to my subsequent babies, and even a better friend to myself. But I can let him go. I wish him well, wherever he is, and thank him for sending me a searching dream, so that I could grieve a really real loss.

by Nan Sheppard

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Are We Happier With Or Without Children?

a mother bathing her child in a washtubA couple of weeks ago, New York Magazine published a story entitled “All Joy and No Fun.” In it, the author looks at the theory that parents are made less happy for having had children. She starts with her own life experience and goes through several different studies conducted by various universities and government organizations. All of the evidence showed parents who preferred any number of activities, including housework, to some of the messier sides of parenting. The studies all pointed to people who became parents are consistently less happy then their friends who did not choose parenthood. Further, mothers are less happy than fathers and single mothers are the least happy of all.

What does this all mean, and could these results possibly be right?

As a parent, I don’t want them to be. Having children makes us miserable? Being a parent is less fun than doing the laundry? Well, yes, if I am truthful with myself, I have to admit that sometimes it is. I can remember telling my husband that splitting the care of our children by doing the dishes for me when he got home from work wasn’t really helpful at all. I’d spent the day home from work with the kids, and was looking forward to taking care of something that wasn’t going to whine or talk back to me. All I wanted to do was turn the kids over to him and mindlessly wash the dishes or do the laundry, or clean the toilet. Anything for a bit of a break.

Did that mean I was less happy than before I had my two little angels?

Thinking back on those days when I was single and then a newlywed, I must say that I was happy and I definitely had more time to myself. Now adays, the hours spent reading, painting, drawing, watching mindless TV are hard to come by at best. Does that mean I am less happy?

I guess it all depends on happiness and its definition to you. Do you need things to “make” you happy? Or do you understand that, in truth, happiness is all about choice. I believe that your point of view makes all the difference in happiness versus sadness. You can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. You can choose to look at how things aren’t or how things are. I don’t mean to trivialize things like clinical depression or anxiety or a host of other things that lead to overwhelming sadness. I am meaning simply this. You have something bad happen, what do you do? Do you look at that bad thing and focus only on it, or do you look at how much brighter the good things you have shine in contrast to that bad thing?

The closing of the article even pointed out that, in the end, it is the things we didn’t do that we regret, not the things we did.

For me, I went into motherhood with eyes wide open. I traveled overseas with my husband, took art classes at the local community college, read, drew, learned many things I had always wanted to before having my children. When I was ready for children, I didn’t go into motherhood thinking that babies would always smell wonderful and grow into smiling, easy-going children. Actually, it was all quite the opposite. For most of my life, I didn’t really think having children was for me. I saw how very much work it was to be a mother and wasn’t sure that was for me. My poor mother used to hand babies to me in the hopes that some hormone would go off somewhere making me *have* to have children. It never worked. I knew kids were a heck of a lot of work, and I knew there were things I wanted to do with my life, for me, before giving it all up for children. Wanting to have children came much later.

I do not resent my children. I was mentally and emotionally prepared for them. I truly consider it to be my honor to bring them into the world and share with them what I know and what I’ve yet to learn. I also know that by giving up a large part of the me time I used to have, I am run down from time to time, and that can frame one’s mood. So, I am trying to find the little bits of time for me as well as time for them.

I can’t imagine my life without my son or my daughter. The moments with them have been much more meaningful and filled with more joy than anything that came before. Just like marriage and going to college and really anything of value, raising children takes a lot of hard work. Does having them in my life make me happy?


by Rocket Science Mom

Photo graciously provided by Britt-Marie Sohlström, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Starting School, Is It Ever Easy?

a hand holding a chicken nuggetThe first day of school can be pretty traumatic for parents and children alike. I would like to say that there is a special technique you can use to make it easy for everyone, but since all kids (and all parents) are different, all I can really do is to pat you on the back and say “there, there…”

My own kids are a fine example. They were raised and prepared for school in the same way, and reacted to it so differently.

My first son Chas cried a bit at first, then got a grip. He was never a big fan of school but resigned himself to fate.

Sam spent his first month screaming blue murder whenever I dropped him off, leaving me a quivering wreck every morning. He’d cling to the car seat, the gate, the school door, and me like his life depended on it. The teacher had to PEEL him off me every morning. I’d creep back, peek in at the window and the little wretch would be playing happily with his buddies, but that didn’t help me the next screaming morning! One day I said to him “Sam, I can’t take this any more. I understand that you need to cry if you are upset, and that is fine. But dude, this every-morning drama is too much for this mama. If you DON’T cry when I drop you to school this morning, I’ll take you to KFC when I pick you up.” Sam’s three-year-old eyes got as round as plates, and angels sang for him. He whispered, “…chicken nuggests???” and I nodded.

That morning, he waved me goodbye and skipped merrily into school, and never cried again. Huh.

When Max MY BAAAYBEEEE! started play school for the first time, I was all prepared for the tears, the creeping back, the talking it over, the extra hugs. I dropped him off the first day, steeled myself, and HE waved me cheerily goodbye and ran in to say hi to a whole new bunch of interesting people.

I wept all the way home. Am I qualified to advise anyone, therefore, on pre-school preparation? I think not!

But there are a few things you can do to make the first weeks of school easier in general:

• Talk about school, mention how much fun you had when you were little (even if you didn’t!) and take it lightly. Don’t treat it like a huge big deal.

• Routine matters. If your child is in a routine at home, this will help them to get used to eating, playing and putting things away on a schedule.

• Be sure your child can get dressed and undressed independently (including coats and shoes), use the toilet without help, and feed themselves. Help them to feel that they can cope, and encourage independence.

• It helps if your child has some concept of time. “I will see you after snack time” will make the day seem less long.

• Emphasise the things they may enjoy doing. Does your child love to play with clay? That’s a school thing!

• TELL THEM that you will collect them at the end of the school day. Sometimes they don’t realise this!

• Trust the school. They generally know what they are doing, and you can ask them for tips. Chances are, your child is perfectly happy once you are out of sight. Most schools will allow you to peek in later if you need reassurance!

• When you do collect them, mention the routine things you did, and what a nice day you had. Kids like to know that everything is okay while they are away from you. You don’t want your child worrying about you all day!

• Read to your child. This is the most important thing you can do to prepare them for school: Reading aloud to kids improves their listening skills, vocabulary and comprehension. Some kids learn to read simply by looking at your finger moving under the words and ALL kids find reading easier if they are read to. Make it part of your bedtime routine.

• And finally, if you can drop your child to school that first day without crying or clinging… give yourself a sticker for being a brave parent!

by Nan Sheppard

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Photo graciously provided by my_amii, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Family Friendly Feng Shui

two frames hung on a wallI had One of Those Weeks, where my kids didn’t listen and they bickered and hated each other and wanted something nicer that what I had made for supper. Finally I lined them up and YELLED at them. They were impressed, since I don’t often yell. They (and half the neighbourhood) tiptoed around after that, I can tell you.

At the library the following day, I picked up a book on Feng Shui, which promised to bring harmony and bliss into the home with cunning placement of candles and things of specific colours, and moving the furniture so that the sofa doesn’t pour energy down the stairs. Or something. I borrowed the book, of course! There was something about the cover image… so uncluttered, so tidy! And living ‘temporarily’ in a rented flat, I needed some kind of inspiration. If it brought bliss and harmony to my children, that would be a bonus.

One Feng Shui change has certainly made a difference here, and here it is:

Look at your photos and paintings. Are they framed? Are they happy images? Have you been meaning to print out family portraits? I have had a great time this week, looking through our photos with Family Bliss in mind, and printing happy, loving pictures of us as a family. My two competitive older boys, hugging. My husband, cooking for us. My youngest son, with the Big Fish he caught! Me, surrounded by friends at my sister’s wedding! Little nieces and nephews, favourite places. Dozens of really great photos.

Frame these. There are pretty frames available everywhere. Feng Shui recommends natural frames like wood and metal, which are nicer than plastic anyway, aren’t they? You can buy a whole bunch of inexpensive frames, and add a few fancy ones. Display the gorgeous framed photos everywhere, and see what happens! My two older boys have been hugging, just like in their photo. My youngest has placed his Big Fish picture on his bedside table. Things have been pretty peaceful and happy around here. Amazing!

Of course, there is much more to Feng Shui than that. Directions, Elements, Colours and whatnot. You can borrow or buy books on Feng Shui by the dozen. I’d recommend one without TOO much information. You just want the basics, to begin with. Or, you can simply spend the next few evenings decluttering your house, to make room for some new family photos!

by Nan Sheppard

Photo graciously provided by Robert in Toronto, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Understanding Phases

a lion roaringThe older boys got back from camp yesterday. I wrote last week about how excited I was to clean their room… it’s still halfway decent. Of course when I found the completely molded banana at the bottom of their trash can, that helped considerably. (Stinkers. They’re not supposed to have food in their bedroom.)

Anyways. Yesterday and today we’re dealing with what a friend of my affectionately calls “re-entry”. The Mercenary was pretty surly by dinnertime, and Hubby and I weren’t all that sympathetic to his plight. I believe I spent the day calling him “O Large and Slightly Grumpy One” and Hubby just laughed at the growls emanating from our child.

I insisted he look at me as I explained that what he was feeling is totally normal, that there’s always a post-camp letdown, and on top of that, he was tired. We love him and really do care about how he feels, but due to mitigating factors we weren’t really going to take him seriously.

He growled.

We laughed.

He insisted that he wasn’t tired. We laughed some more.

He was particularly upset because I served chicken for dinner. (Oh, the horrors!!). His reason was that “I had chicken every day this week at camp for lunch and dinner”. When I questioned the claim and asked whether there were other options available, suddenly the answers got a little confusing. Eventually he settled on saying that chicken had been served all those times, but no he may not have actually eaten it every meal.

“Great!!” we said. “Eat your chicken.”

Hubby had to insist that he eat. When he finally did, he cleared the plate (and by ‘plate’ I mean seven bites of chicken, two slices of tomato, and a mini-croissant) and disappeared. I found him a few minutes later, completely zonked out on his bed. He slept for a few hours before going to bed for good later on last night.

But he wasn’t tired. Noooooooo.

I wish I’d been able to have this perspective and level of calm several years ago. It used to be the case that the boys would go spend several days with grandparents, and re-entry was so difficult that I usually ended up in tears on the phone to Hubby. Now it’s easier to understand that this is just a phase, it’s temporary, and I can laugh it out or send them to bed. Either (or both) will help things get back to normal.

I wish I could have now the wisdom I will possess when they’re grown and moving on.

by AmyL

Photo graciously provided by Tambako the Jaguar, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved