Friday, July 20, 2007
My husband doesn't speak to his father. This has been going on for almost four years now, but the problems began more than a decade ago when his father got re-married. I have foolishly tried to help mend the gap on several occasions, only to end up being on the receiving end of a load of bullshit, for lack of a more eloquent term.
Part of my motivation to fix things is selfish. I don't want to have to explain to my children why their grandfather isn't allowed to see them. But the larger thing motivating me is anger. I can't understand how a person could so cleanly cut off his own flesh and blood at the directive of a spouse. Even more, I can't imagine choosing to stay with a spouse who would force you to pick between your children (and innocent grandchildren) and them.
I was hoping that When Parents Hurt, by Joshua Coleman, Ph. D. would give me some insight into my father-in-law's decisions so that maybe I could let go of some of my anger. Because at this point, even if things changed and he wanted to see us, I don't know if I'd be able to do so. Because this book addresses troubled relationships from the perspective of the parent, maybe reading it could help me to understand some of my father-in-law's choices. Additionally, knowing how their damaged relationship had affected my husband, I was hoping this book could help me gain a little information on what not to do with our own kids.
One of the chapters I found most helpful was Divorce Wounds. My parents are still together, so I sometimes have trouble understanding the complexities underlying the relationship between my husband and his parents. After discussing potential effects on the family dynamics, Coleman discusses several key issues that may be upsetting to parents after a divorce, and includes things to 'Strive to avoid' and to' Strive to.' I immediately zeroed in on 'I made my child a lower priority than my new partner.' Reading this section did help, but it also made me realize that, at least according to the author, most of my father-in-law's actions were not made in the interest of preserving his relationship with his children. Does this make me more or less angry? I'm not quite sure yet.
Even if you don't have any family trauma/drama, there is some very interesting information in this book. Chapter five, Brave New Parents of the Twenty-First Century, chronicles the evolution of parenting from the early 1900's to the present day. Coleman points out how the addition of electricity, appliances and vehicles to the home in the 1930's lead to a significant increase in accidental deaths of children. Although I may have been able to make this connection on my own, I may not have though to link this to a major change in parenting norms due to the increase of parental guilt.
In the end, a part of me wants to ship this book off to my father-in-law, no strings attached. I think it could help their relationship immensely if only his wife would let him use some of the strategies therein. But I've learned my lesson, so I won't interfere.
Which is good news for you, dear readers! I have a brand new, hard bound copy of When Parents Hurt, by Joshua Coleman, Ph. D. to ship off to one of you. Please leave a comment or email me if you are interested. If more than one person contacts me, I'll have to do a random drawing, but fear not because you can buy the book on Amazon. Need more info? Check out all the reviews over at the Parent Bloggers Network.
Posted by Amy Jo at 8:45 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2007
When I was pregnant with Sammy, I religiously poured over the pages of the traditional 'What To Expect' pregnancy tome. It provided me with tons of information, but little insight. I didn't notice at the time, because I was so high on excitement and progesterone, but the book seemed to focus more on issues or problems that can occur during pregnancy, while only giving a brief mention to the more positive aspects of pregnancy.
Now it's the second time around, and the excitement of the unknown is missing. Add to that the fact that I'm a little older, a little heavier and I have a toddler to chase and you can imagine why this pregnancy has been a little less the thrilling experience that my first was. When I went to consult with the pregnancy book, I came away feeling even more negative then when I started. I had read some earlier reviews of Body, Soul and Baby by Tracy W. Gaudet, M.D. but I wasn't sure a new book was the answer. I trudged through my first and second trimesters like a good little soldier, but I wasn't really enjoying being pregnant.
And then there was some sort of mystical intervention. The Parent Bloggers Network was looking for bloggers to review Body, Soul and Baby. I decided to give it a try, figuring that it couldn't make things any worse, right?
Once I started reading, I knew that this was not your normal pregnancy book. Dr. Gaudet stresses focusing on the experience of being pregnant, both physical and mental, instead of just playing attention to the 'condition' of being pregnant. She recommends the use of integrative medicine (combining 'the best of conventional Western medical practices with a careful selection from a range of other, less mainstream therapies') to help enhance a woman's ability to tune in to her body during this dynamic time.
Early chapters include questions and tools that can help with this process. While some of these tools seemed a little too 'new age' for me, others, like journaling (aka blogging) seemed to make good sense and were pretty simple to execute.
Preconception and conception are covered, but since I had mastered that part back in December, I skimmed ahead to the discussion of the actual pregnancy. Each trimester is covered over four chapters: Reflection and Observation, The Inside Scoop, Medical Care and Self Care. Labor and delivery and the postpartum period are also covered in the same way. This organization is helpful because say you have a question about labor that is of the medical variety, it is easy to locate the chapter where that information can be found.
Since I started reading Body, Soul and Baby I have recommended it to several other pregnant friends. They also have had similar positive responses to the book. There are a lot of books out there aimed at expectant mothers, so it can be difficult to find one that appeals to a wide variety of personalities. However, because Dr. Gaudet combines complimentary and alternative techniques with her medical knowledge, her approach to pregnancy and birth can be appealing to many different types of women.
Usually after reading a book for a PBN review, I offer it up to one of my readers. Bad news for you though, because I think this one if going to stay on my shelf for a little longer. I'm betting it'll come in handy during the first week of September when my body is reeling from progesterone withdrawal!
Friday, July 6, 2007
There is a line in the movie Annie where the orphans are fighting and someone yells, 'Can it, you twit!' That is my favorite line.
It's also the phrase that most readily springs to mind when friends/relatives/strangers have found occasion to comment on my current pregnancy.
Look, I know that my babies are going to be close in age. This may come as a surprise to you, but I took two semesters of calculus and physics as requirements for my biology degree. I think that I'm more than qualified to count the months between by kids' birthdays. Hell, I bet Sam can even count to 18 thanks to Sesame Street. And while I understand that this is the south, if one more random person at the Y/Little Gym/playground asks if I'm catholic after hearing that my kids will only be 18 months apart, I might invoke the name of the lord in ways that are inappropriate for children's ears.
Also, please understand that I visit the doctor regularly and I am certain that my due date is correct and that I am not having twins. I am painfully aware that I weighed the same when I got pregnant the second time as I did the day I delivered Sam. I am not happy about this, and I was planning to work on losing weight before I got pregnant again, but guess what? I got pregnant by accident! If you keep asking, I'm going to start giving a more detailed account, including dates, of the circumstances leading to my accidental pregnancy. Is that what you want? A very clear mental picture of me and SOB getting a little tipsy on our first real date in Atlanta and then going at it? Do you? 'Cause I'll go there.
So to you, Aunt Jo Ann. And you Uncle Scott. And you, Carter-from-Little-Gym's mother, and you random lady at the pool with the same maternity swim suit as me. I say, emphatically:
Can it, you twit!
Don’t you wish you could have just handed them this?
What would you do in these situations? If you've got a witty comeback, click over to the Parent Bloggers Network and tell your story. You could win a new iPod Shuffle!
Posted by Amy Jo at 8:33 AM