Dear Mamas & Papas: This community has been in existence for a decade. In that time, the mamas behind the site have come and gone, with more help in some periods than others. Now, we are looking to you to...

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"urbanMamas" - 5 new articles

  1. Help us maintain uM!
  2. Dear Portland: Where do we go now?
  3. Mother's Day Reflections - 2017
  4. My tale of two IUDs
  5. A day without women: teens included?
  6. More Recent Articles

Help us maintain uM!

Dear Mamas & Papas:  This community has been in existence for a decade.  In that time, the mamas behind the site have come and gone, with more help in some periods than others.  

Now, we are looking to you to help figure out a way to keep the site useful.  Forevermore, the childcare forum continues to thrive, as this will always be a necessity for mamas and papas out there.  In addition to that, we want to still provide value.  If you are interested in talking about how we can keep the community going, please email me personally: olivia [dot] rebanal [at] gmail [dot] com.  I'd love to chew on this with you.  Until then, please keep up with us on FB, for that's pretty much the only way I seem to be able to represent uM these days!
    

Dear Portland: Where do we go now?

It has been so, so hard to process last week's events in the City of Roses.  There are some who have defended the white supremacist Jeremy Joseph Christian.  We have gathered to memorialize the two men that were slain; we consider them heroes.  One of the victim's last words were: "Please tell everyone on this train that I love them."  And, the surviving victim encourages us to focus our attention on the teen women who were the subjects of the attack: "We need to remember that this is about those little girls."

Racism and hate is nothing new to Portland.  It now the time that we will acknowledge this history?  How are we to move on and grow closer after this?  Are we a community divided, whether overtly or subtly?  Are we less progressive than we thought?  

In the name of our children: how do we work to build networks of compassion and inclusion?  How do we discuss these current events with our youngest community members?  How do we insist, in the name of the generations that will be after us, that we disable networks of hate and violence?  How do we cross boundaries to strengthen the deepest threads of our community's fabric and how do we dismantle the institutional barriers that oppress us?

For me, I found some grounding in this statement from a Portland-based community organization: the road is long and journey will be difficult; we must remain steadfast in our commitment for progress and equity.

    

Mother's Day Reflections - 2017

Our traditions for Mother's Day continue: breakfast in bed followed by a family hike.  Toward the end of our hike yesterday afternoon, I realized that I was starting to feel antsy, the Sunday blues starting to set in: Do we have enough groceries for the week? Do we have clean clothes? What are the schedule commitments and any special arrangements that need to be made? The list goes on.  One friend commented on Saturday that she had done all the grocery shopping and laundry already so she didn't need to worry on Sunday.

Why can't we have a Mother's Day on a Saturday?  I feel like I could relax a bit more if I didn't have to start stressing about the next week on that holiday.  I think 25% of my day on Mother's Day is eroded by those Sunday worries that start to eat into my Sunday afternoon.

I'm missing the point?  Should I put the responsibility of the chores onto my kids and partner on Mother's Day Sundays and let myself go worry-free?  Well: been there, done that.  I've done it a few different ways: refuse chores for the few days before and after Mother's Day to see if they will get done for me, how and when I like them done.  This works fine: the kids fold laundry and clean the sink, and it is what it is.  But, let's face it: no one does it quite like Mom.   Also: I mind it so much less if I have the time to get the chores done and if I get oodles of love for it!

Last night, in the last moments of Mother's Day 2017, I did the dishes and scrubbed the sink.  My heart felt light.  I am happy doing the things that I do for my family, it's what I do.  I can't help it.  And, to me, the contribution they bring to my day is acknowledgement and full appreciation for all it is that I do.  Says one of my kids: "thank you so much for making us food, doing our laundry, cleaning our bathrooms and more."  (not that I do it ALL, mind you.  These kids DO have chores!) and says another "There's so much that you do for our family that goes unnoticed.... " and "P.S. We didn't pick out a gift for you, but if you want me to do a really gross chore, I'll do it!"

In the meantime, I think I might just switch our family's celebration to a Mama's Day Eve to offset a bit of that Sunday evening stress that usually accompanies the event!

    

My tale of two IUDs

Baby-Holding-IUD-Birth-Announcement

At this point, this photo has gone viral.  I've received the photo via numerous personal texts, direct messages, and posts to my Facebook wall.  And, so, I figured I'd better come clean and share with you all: my tale of two IUDs.

Over a dozen years ago, I wrote about deciding on my first IUD, and this is one of uM's most trafficked post on the site.  I eventually decided to go with the Paraguard [copper] IUD, and I didn't regret it.  

Five years after its insertion, I knew something was up.  I peed on two sticks and I knew it wasn't wrong.  The IUD had floated way up into my pregnant uterus, unable to be retrieved, and I proceeded to fend off worries that I'd have pre-term labor, infection, miscarriage, or something else horrible.  My OB at the time frightened me with these risks every time I saw him, and I felt like he scribbled "malpractice risk" everywhere in red ink on my chart.  When he told me "C-section at 36 weeks or else....", I left him for another doctor.  I met my new OB at 38-weeks pregnant, and he helped me deliver a healthy baby boy, vaginally, at 39 weeks and 5 days.

Well, that boy, our miracle baby, is now 7.5 years old.  I promptly got my next Paraguard within a couple of months of delivery.

When I got that irksome feeling in my uterus again, five years after the insertion of the most recent Paraguard, I couldn't do anything but laugh.  I was nauseated and bloated and...  blessed.  There was no other way to dice it.  I was lucky to the Nth degree, chosen by some higher power, to defeat those odds that were so hard to defeat the first time around.  My partner tells me, however, that the odds aren't any higher the second time around; the odds are statistically the same as they always were: really freaking low.

And, yet, it happened.  Again.  This time around, no scare tactics would bother me.  I enjoyed my pregnancy as much as I could, relished what I knew would be my last - and fourth - gestation.  And, it was the perfect pregnancy.  I felt healthy, energetic and ever-fertile.  We didn't know the gender of our baby until the moment he emerged, in the early morning of his due date almost two full years ago.  And, now, we felt complete.  Really we did.  Period.  End of story.  With a vasectomy to punctuate it.

I can go into many details of those two pregnancies, which I documented in full to close family and friends via FB.  For now, let me just go on record to say: I have two IUD babies, and - I swear - yours will work!

    

A day without women: teens included?

My girl, a junior in high school, has been talking to us about how she can participate in tomorrow's events for International Women's Day.  Should I stay home from school?  Can I write senators?  Should I volunteer at the local Planned Parenthood?  Could I take a hike?

...... * screeeech!* .....

"Take a hike"?  Yes, this was one of the proposed activities she offered up as an act of resistance for tomorrow.  I'm not sure what the impetus is around this hike, for she surely refuses my many invitations to take a hike on any other day.  

I support our girl taking a stand, using her voice, engaging in acts of resistance.  To be sure, I was brought to tears when texted me, two days post-election 2016, when she and her peers walked out of their school, joining many other high schoolers around protesting.  Our words to her on that day: use your voice, follow the instructions, please don't destroy property.  Also: "we are proud of you."

Sometimes I wonder: are these teenagers rising up to make a statment or are they joining forces to hang out for the day?  Does that matter?  Should it matter?  Should we audit the activities of the day, if they are staying home from school tomorrow, and expect only to see acts of resistance?  Should we stand by and also watch them hang out, goof off on snapchat, or take a hike?

So: are your teens thinking of participating tomorrow?  In what way? 

    

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