Tag: motherhood

Living in the tension; reflections on pregnancy and motherhood


When I was pregnant with our first son, I told Mustangman I was one and done. “I’m never doing this again!” I said with great conviction. Pregnancy was hard on me physically- 18 weeks of constant nausea, back pain, and debilitating pregnancy induced carpal tunnel that meant I could no longer perform surgeries after 26 weeks. Even holding a pen or opening a can of soda water was excruciating. My husband saw how difficult pregnancy was for me, and said “ok” in response to my vow to never have another baby.

When our son was stillborn at 33 weeks, I was frantic to get pregnant again immediately. During induction, even before he was delivered, I told my husband that I wanted to get pregnant again as soon as I could. I had no idea how much I would miss the kicks and hiccups I felt while our son was alive inside my belly. It wasn’t until his kicks had stopped that I felt an overwhelming need to feel kicks again. Four months later, I fell pregnant. The second time around, pregnancy was easier physically, but emotionally much more difficult. I simultaneously loved and hated being pregnant- I wanted it to last forever, but also wanted it to be over right away. 

Small Towns Do Big Things (aka, America Is OK)


A text from my sister prompted this post.  She lives in a small, rural mountain town in Maryland.  It read as follows: “We had a luncheon after church for our lead singer/guitarist.  He is moving to Williamsburg, VA.  We are also taking a collection for a church in the Kentucky floods.  A couple is going down to take the supplies and funds.”

I asked my sister, is that the chubby guy that sings? I remembered him, as I watched those church services online during Covid.  Her pastor’s very encouraging and passionate sermons were an inspiration during that time, and I remembered this talented musician.

Here’s a sample about six minutes into the video:

A Hand Holding Back a Tidal Wave


A story crossed my email from Crisis Magazine worth reading.  It presents the life of a lowly servant in the trenches – holding up a hand against evil, trying to protect an enormous flock of young, abused girls in Mexico.  The powerful hand is attached to the body of a thin, older priest named Father Dan Leary. Here is an excerpt:

A single American priest, Fr. Dan Leary, has worked seventeen-hour days the past several weeks to spiritually and mentally prepare the teenage girls for what might await them in some of the most dangerous towns in the world. Long hours are not uncommon to Fr. Leary; he has no days off. Seventeen- and eighteen-hour days are standard.

The girls have learned how to protect themselves against the evil ones; they’ve been sent out as warriors who understand the spiritual battle,” Fr. Leary said. “They have exorcised water and salt. They will be praying their rosaries on break; they’ll be walking to daily Mass in their villages, they will be in prayer. They know God is with them to protect them, moment by moment.

Quote of the Day: Generation of Humanity


“If allowed to continue, objectification might draw the man to engage in conversation with the woman with the aim of taking her on a series of dates, which might then lead to a sexual encounter that could then become a long-term relationship and even culminate in a marriage that produces children and thus burdens the woman with the uniquely essential and gratifying task of shaping a new generation of humanity in the hallowed and elevated role of motherhood for which untold descendants may one day rise up and call her blessed.

And we wouldn’t want that.

Feminists are very opposed to objectification. Fortunately, feminists are rarely objectified themselves. But they’ve heard about it and they say it sounds dreadful and they would never, ever want it to happen to them.”

The Olden Days of Gender Reveal


So, now there is this enormous fire surging across a part of Southern California because someone’s gender reveal party included a smoke bomb that exploded into blue or pink smoke and then set fire to the surrounding chaparral. In the first place, if you’ve ever lived in SoCal you should know never to use anything flammable out there in the brush. It’s just a fire waiting to happen. I haven’t lived in the area in 25 years, but we called it home from 1974 to 1996 (with a couple of years in the middle up in western Idaho). The native plants catch on fire. Do not do things that might cause one of those fires. Sigh…

I also wonder when the “Gender Reveal” became a “thing?” We have five children, born between 1976 and 1984–all of my prenatal care was at the Navy Hospital in San Diego, because this was during my husband’s active duty years. (Yes, yes, it was considered somewhat of a bizarre thing that we would go on reproducing after we had the first two: boy, then girl. But actually, we intended to have six. My body just let me know that five would be plenty.)

Quote of the Day: A Woman’s Function


To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” — G.K. Chesterton

Mother’s Day: No Laughing Matter


I realized something for the first time when my kids were of an age for sleepovers and birthday parties: dads are funnier than moms.

I might have noticed it in my own house if it wasn’t right under my nose. My husband was the one to get on the floor and wrestle, start sock fights, and make jokes when it was time to get serious. That’s not to say I could never be found on the floor with kids crawling all over me, but there’s something different about mommy wrestling as opposed daddy wrestling–a certain lack of abandon and goofiness. My daughter would come home from a party or church event with stories about how Cheri’s dad had made them laugh while driving them to the skating rink, or how Leslie’s dad had played a stupid trick that backfired. It was never the moms. Mothers could certainly be fun (I’d like to think I was. Maybe. Sometimes.), but seldom funny.

Several years ago Jerry Lewis made a controversial statement when asked who his favorite female comedians were.  His answer: None, because women aren’t funny. That raised a stink among women, many of whom seriously protested that they were funny—which kind of proved his point, in a way.  I would say that women aren’t funny in the same way.  They can be witty (as my mother was), clever, sharp, catty, artless, or charming, but there’s a reason male standup comics far outnumber females, and it doesn’t have much if anything to do with discrimination.  Of those few successful female comics, most of them are known for the mordant kind of humor: the biting, even bitter kind.  It’s because women, more than men, have a tragic view of life.  And that’s because of one thing: women have babies.

Vermeule’s Gleeful Illiberal Legalism


Few have been brave enough to flesh out what the Ahmarist, or “anti-Frenchist,” vision of the common good should be. Some have said articulating specifics is beside the point, that Ahmarists’ refreshing achievement is unapologetically asserting a common good exists, even if they decline to say what, exactly, it is. And then, there are guys like Adrian Vermeule, writing in The Atlantic, brave enough, at least, to flesh out a vision of sorts. Vermeule calls it “common-good constitutionalism”, which he describes as “an illiberal legalism that is not ‘conservative’ at all, insofar as standard conservatism is content to play defensively within the procedural rules of the liberal order.” When Vermeule writes,

[U]nlike legal liberalism, common-good constitutionalism does not suffer from a horror of political domination and hierarchy, because it sees that law is parental, [emphasis added] a wise teacher and an inculcator of good habits. Just authority in rulers can be exercised for the good of subjects, if necessary even against the subjects’ own perceptions of what is best for them—perceptions that may change over time anyway, as the law teaches, habituates, and re-forms them. Subjects will come to thank the ruler whose legal strictures, possibly experienced at first as coercive, encourage subjects to form more authentic desires…

Warren and the Burden of Motherhood


Fifteen years ago, in her book Where’s Mom?: The High Calling of Wives and Mothers, Dorothy Kelley Patterson asked this pointed question: “Is being someone’s wife and another’s mother really worth the investment of a life?”

With that question, Patterson gets to the heart of what many mothers struggle with today. We live in a culture where motherhood alone isn’t treated as a respectable enough career in and of itself. A woman must also have a college education and then use that education to build a successful career outside of the home. Home life and motherhood are just a part of her life, additions to what really matters.

Sadly, children are treated as accessories and commodities, to be added for personal enjoyment, but discarded when they interfere with personal endeavors. These children certainly are not worth the investment of her whole life. How very silly of any woman to simply want to stay home with the children. What a waste of a mind, of an education, and of a perfectly well-functioning adult who should be contributing in much more valuable ways to society (like paying taxes).

The Mother


This isn’t an account of Raining Cats and Dogs as much as it is a story of the flooding that resulted.

Mr. Cowgirl and I had both been raised in a world of animals. His family did cattle ranching, and mine did dairy farming, and that world always included cats and dogs. Our barn cats had an essential role in keeping the cow grain safe from rodents. Beef cattle and milk cows will follow directions from dogs much more quickly than directions from humans.

Member Post


    “C’mon Peggy, those dishes aren’t going to wash themselves. If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  She didn’t care a fig about child labor laws.  I was eight when my mother bought a used piano and started calling our den the music room.  Houdini had nothing […]

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Melanie Notkin, founder of Savvy Auntie, the first community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids (but might not have them) discusses her book Otherhood and women who are childless, not by choice, but by circumstance. She and Bridget cover the assumptions people make about childless women, being told that they should have settled if they wanted kids, and how Bridget feels like she kept hitting snooze on her biological clock. Find out how feminism made men lazy, why you’re only as loyal as your options in the age of social media, and how in the battle of the sexes everyone seems to be more confused than anything. Don’t miss an incredibly honest conversation about Melanie’s ability to take the source of her greatest pain – not having children – and turn it into something that helps countless people – women and men.

Group Writing: Motherhood and Will


I am mother to six intelligent strong-willed individuals. On this day, August 27, I rejoice in the example of St. Monica, whose feast day it is, and take the opportunity to reflect on Will and Motherhood.

For a mother, one part of the job is to exert her will on her babies and make them do as she says. She must learn when to exert that will, and when to relax and allow the children to be free. As they grow she must teach them her will so that they can learn to do it without her around. Eventually, the plan is, they will learn how to do what is right without her and choose to do it on their own, thus becoming useful adults.

Member Post


“A Quiet Place” is a post-apocalyptic horror/thriller movie about a family trying to survive from monsters that hunt by sound. The characters do not talk very much, but their actions speak volumes about family. It is one of those rare movies that has a nuclear family and shows the value of family and sacrifice. Major […]

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Member Post


I’ve commented elsewhere that part of the modernist condition is for people to remain in perpetual youth, and I admit I’ve probably focused more from a man’s perspective. There is an impulse today validated through the culture that men should remain boys, or at least resist the transition to manhood for as long as possible. […]

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Winning through Ricochet – and Knowing What You’ve Lost


Ah, collagen. The most abundant protein in animals. Great for cooking into rich sauces – and glue (hence the name). It gives structure to mammals’ extracellular space. Your skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, mucous membranes, cartilage, bones, and teeth all depend on collagen for strength. When our collagen lets us down, we can expect trouble.

Several diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to scurvy, are connective-tissue diseases. Several attack our abundant collagen specifically. Sometimes, though, collagen weakens not because it’s under attack, but because it never formed right to begin with. Several genes have been identified as causing Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), congenitally weakened cartilage, and several genes remain to be discovered. The worst types of EDS are super-weird, and super-scary. Your silly-putty skin could be so loose and stretchy that it’s obvious from birth you’d be a freak-show star, pulling your neck skin over your face for strangers’ amusement. Or maybe your joints dislocate so easily you’d join the circus as a contortionist, disarticulating yourself for cold, hard cash. Or maybe EDS causes your organs to explode, far less marketable but still super-scary. Many of us, if we’ve heard of EDS at all, have more reason to think “circus freak” than “subtle.”

Member Post


As you all know by now because I love to talk about myself, I am a mom. (Want to hear about my childhood? Okay! Want to see 1200 pictures of me? Okay!) Anyway, now that my child is in college, I’ve been looking back on things. Being a mom changes a person. It makes you […]

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Lifelines and Deadlines


“Are you sure you should go?” my mother asked. Yes, I was. Positive. A family friend had just lost her newborn. How could I not go, unless my presence at the funeral would disturb her too greatly? But I had been assured this was not so: the grieving mother would not be undone by the sight of the visibly pregnant, and would rather have more people, not fewer, with her to remember her own child’s brief life. So I went.

The child had died of SIDS. The coroner said there was nothing that could have prevented it. It was just one of those things. The grieving mother, though, believed the truth might be otherwise. Hers had not been an ideal pregnancy from the start. She had made choices that she now wished she could unmake. No one could wish to add to her grief by agreeing with her, at least not during a time when the grief was so fresh. But her regrets were understandable ones.