All of me

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Our Babies and Attachment

Every mother attaches differently to their baby. Some instantly attach the minute the second line comes up on the pregnancy test. They coo and talk to their tummy from that moment on and become an instant momma bear the minute their baby comes into the world.

But this may not be the case for everyone out there. It certainly wasn’t the case for me.
When I got pregnant, I was so worried about not becoming attached to the baby I did everything I could to become as connected as I could. I ordered a Doppler so I could listen to our baby’s heartbeat at home. I ordered four extra private ultrasounds so I could make it more real for me. We found out the sex of the baby so we could have a name right away, call it by that name and so that I could have a nursery more specific to the little person about to join our family. And although I didn’t read to my baby, as we got closer to the due date, we would have a few conversations and I did sing to my tummy every night before bed (the same song I still sing every night before Connor goes to bed).

No matter what I did though, I just didn’t feel that strong connection that I had heard about. Or maybe I did, and because of all my other underlying issues, didn’t know how to recognize it.

When Connor was born I loved him, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it would be one of those moments you see on tv where you cry as you hold your baby and see them for the first time. That wasn’t the case for me.

You know when they have to take blood for testing and blood sugar readings and they prick your baby’s foot? They had to do it multiple times for Connor as they couldn’t get enough blood for a good reading. I didn’t feel anything. I was so rational and understood why they were doing it I just watched them feeling indifferent. But then my sister-in-law recounted her story about how she immediately wanted to grab her child and punch the nurse in the face (I’m paraphrasing); There was this instant guilt that I didn’t feel that way. I’m his mother! I’m supposed to have that protective instinct!

I discovered my love grew every day. It wasn’t many months later that Connor had his first ER visit because of croup and I had a VERY hard time keeping it together because I was worried. There was also a time when we were dealing with specialists because of his flat spot caused by his torticollis. As they manipulated his head this way and that, it took everything in my being to not snatch him back (and he wasn’t even crying this time!)

That reaction made me feel so much better because I knew that instinct had come. I was just one of those people where the feeling grows and builds instead of instantly coming into fruition.

There are still days where my confidence in my attachment strength waivers. Often it’s when Connor would prefer to be with anyone but me. Or how he’ll adventure everywhere without really caring if I’m there or not. Generally, I’m quite proud that he’s so independent and sure of himself and that the feels comfortable with others. But sometimes I waiver with the thought that he does it because he’s not attached to me. Or rather, that he’s attached himself to those people OVER me. It’s a challenging balance because I know that his personality and our parenting style largely factors into this as well.

I was mostly proud of this independent child-o’-mine until a few months ago when I was out getting a pedicure with my mother and sister-in-law. We were talking about our kids and what different personalities they have and it came up how my nephew liked to stay close and my son likes to wander and explore, with really no regard to where you are in relation to him.

The girl working on my sister-in-law asked “Did you breastfeed?” If I wasn’t so shocked I might have been able to come up with some witty response. Instead, I shockingly answered “NO”. She went on saying that was probably why as most babies that are breastfed are more attached and need their mom more than the babies who are fed from a bottle.

Feelings of failure wracked my brain. Maybe that WAS why I didn’t feel so attached to Connor. Maybe I should have done more to keep breastfeeding… NO! NO! NO!

Ladies – what that woman said to me was wrong! She should not have said it in the first place! Do NOT ever feel like the decisions you’ve made for your baby was a mistake. You did what was right for you at the time, and no one has the right to judge you for it or say any different. For me – choosing to pump and bottle feed and then going to formula was in both my and Connor’s best interest and there’s no point playing the ‘what if’ game. I felt no guilt making this decision at the time and I think that guilt crept up again because I was already so worried that I messed up one of the most important relationships of my life because of my own attachment problems.

I have come to accept that I’m not going to be able to see what everyone else sees in terms of a healthy attachment. My eyes are clouded and I’m never going to think it is enough. Right now, I look to my husband to reassure me that, yes, I am doing a good job and that my son and I are bonded. And sometimes, when my judgement is clear, I understand what he’s trying to tell me when my little boy shyly comes to hold my leg when a stranger say ‘hi’ and when suppertime is a challenge because I have a little helper that doesn’t want to leave my side while I’m cooking. Or the days where rushes to give me a kiss and a hug when I come home from work and he gives me a big squeeze. I’m his mother and I know that he loves me and is confident in my love for him – I just need to convince myself of that fact once in a while.


Throwback Thursday

This Throwback Thursday isn’t about me, per se, but I was involved and maybe the reason why this story is often told during family get-togethers. When you grow up on a farm, you really need to use your imagination to keep you entertained – especially in the summer. So throughout July and August, my brother and I would put on shows. It worked out well, actually. We kept busy planning and practising, my grandparents were entertained as we put on the show and we always had a willing audience!

One day, Steven decided he was going to do a magic/science trick. He was always fascinated by this stuff as a kid and had lots of science books in his room – he LOVED to do experiments and just see how things worked. This trick involved an egg and showing off how if you squeeze it from end to end it would not break. However, I was to be the assistant and he was going to hold the egg over my head. I wasn’t really thinking about what could happen, but I was just mad that I was constantly the assistant. I mean, wasn’t it my turn to do the magic trick yet?

There was a heated debated which ended in me refusing to do the ‘show’ with him. I was going to do my own show instead. This just meant following him around and doing exactly what he was doing. We walked into the house to grab a raw egg and went back outside. Steven went up the walk, “Gramma! Gramma! I have a trick! Come watch” and I waited on the deck to see what he would do so I could quickly copy it.

He went into his magician’s spiel about the strength of the egg and showed how it wouldn’t break. Then he lifted the egg over his head and….CRACK! He didn’t quite hit the egg end to end and it broke all over his head. The shock on his face was hilariously indescribable as the egg whites and yolk slowly dripped onto the sidewalk (he was bending over).

I think this was one of Gramma’s favourite stories to tell. I can only imagine how how hard it was for her not to laugh until she got back into the house as Steve came back into our house to clean off. It was also the last show he put on, sadly.


My brother and I one summer…before we grew up and stopped getting along.

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The ‘L’ Word

I’m talking about Love. Not just feeling it, but saying it and letting those around you know how you feel. That’s something I have a very hard time with. Call it my upbringing or my stemming attachment issues, but I just don’t really say it. Out loud, I’ve said it to a handful of people. I hope those people know that for me to say it, I am breaking a very thick wall deep in myself.

Of course there are those where the words flow easily. My husband, for example, and my son (although it always feels strange to say it out loud in front of other people, and it’s also odd to hear other people say those words to my son – again, attachment issues). Just recently I found my mom has been saying it far more often to me, and I’m surprised to find how easily I can reciprocate the sentiment.

I mentioned in another post how having my child has healed in my ways I never thought was possible. One of those ways was my love for other people. He makes it so much easier to open up my heart. He reinforces that there are people out there who love unconditionally and I shouldn’t be afraid to put my trust and love in them. He helps me say I Love You more often, so that it’s easier to say it to more people without that strange awkwardness.

I still have those drawbacks, but the more I’m with my son, the easier it feels to break the chains I’ve held in my heart for so long now. I’ve always wanted love and attention, I’ve longed for people to hold me and hug me and just have that contact, but the dis-attachment inside never allowed me to trust those people. To not show how I felt because I was always so afraid they’d leave me too. Connor’s has helped me work through that. I just hope I can give him what he’s given me. Love.

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Throwback Thursday

I hate bugs. Hate them. I’m especially scared of spiders. So you can imagine how fun it is to live on a farm when there are bugs everywhere (not literally, but you know what I mean). There’s a few stories my family loves to tell that include my frightened self and creepy crawlies of the arachnid kind. The one that is most popular invovles my grandpa.

Because my grandparents lived in the same yard as we did, I did a lot with them. One summer, Grandpa decided our shed needed to be painted. I loved helping to paint so when I saw him down in the yard, I decided I would go help, too. He got a paintbrush ready for me and filled an old tobacco tin with some green paint and I got to work.

The only problem was the area we were painting faced South, got really warm in the afternoon, and was were all the creepy crawlies liked to bask in the heat. Such was the case that day. All the daddy long-legs had crawled into the crevices between the wood and so everytime I swiped my brush in there, they would all crawl out. When that would happen, I would scream and drop my wet paint brush into the dirt in front of the shed. So then Grandpa would have to pick it up, take it over to the gas tanks and wash it off so I could start again. Five more times or so this happened. Dip paint brush, see spider, drop paint brush, clean off and start again. Repeat.

Finally, Grandpa had about enough of my nonsense and kindly let me know I was fired. *Cue dramatic breaking-heart here*. I cried and cried and cried. I made my way to the house and when mom saw me asked in a very concerned way what was wrong. As I am standing in the entryway and mom upstairs by the bathroom looking down at me I said, “Grandpa fired me!”. It was hard for her not to laugh and is now a story that is shared many times. And as I got older, I received many more chances to go painting with Grandpa…without getting fired.


My Gramma and Grampa with me at my Aunt and Uncle’s house one Christmas.

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Hi, My name is Jennifer…

….and I have an addiction.

No, it’s not alcohol, tobacco, or pornography.

It’s food.

I’ve never had a great relationship with food. I was given sweets from my family and then super-restricted at home. I started to correlate love with junk food. When my parents would leave me home alone I would scourge the cupboards… I would sneak chocolate, marshmallows, fudge, or frozen cookies. Never enough to make a huge difference, but enough to get my fix.

This conintued into my adulthood and I feel is starting to become a problem.

Because I don’t want my son to make the same choices I have. I want him to choose a healthy and active lifestyle. I want him to love food and be responsible with food. I don’t want him to fall into the same trap I have.

I still sneak food – but larger quantities. I live close to a gas station so I can easily pick up all the junk food I want and sit down and eat it all. My parents aren’t there to stop me anymore, and I don’t have anyone critisizing my actions. But now it’s turning into a problem.

I will eat secretly. When I’m around people I will eat very small amounts, and then when I get home I will binge out on whatever I can find. I try so hard to be good, I really do. But when I have one taste of a carbohydrate, my body goes out of control. I will eat whatever I can find in a very short amount of time. It doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not.

The hardest thing with a food addiction is that you can’t take food out of your life. You’re an alcoholic? Get rid of all the booze in your house, stay away from bars the people who drink in your life. You can’t do that with food. If I take food out of my life and disassociate myself with all the people who eat food that I know, I will die all by myself in a little room. That sure doesn’t sound like fun.

So it’s completely up to me to be able to handle all the stressors and triggers in my life. And that’s hard. It also requires me to ask for help more often, which I am certainly NOT good at. Everyday is a new beginning and a new chance to be better. I still have mess-ups and binges, but I take it as a win when I have one less sweet than I did before.

Everything starts with baby steps. Here I go…

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Our Decision

We’re trying again with the one little embryo we have left. I’ve been thinking about doing this pretty much from our last transfer in 2011. So at the beginning of the year, we started our last journey with our Fertility Clinic to give Connor a little brother or sister. Sometimes I’m envious of those couples who can just get pregnant on a whim and who get to enjoy trying. But then the planner in me is almost grateful for the chance to plan and lead up to it. The greatest thing in my last pregnancy was seeing it grow on a cellular level. Not a lot of people get to witness that and experience or appreciate the true journey of conception.

So we’re jumping in! What a journey this will be. We’ve decided this time around not to share the details of when this is going to happen. At least this way there will be some surprise for our family. And then I can wait until I’m ready to share the news. Last time I was pressured to tell everyone before I was ready and I don’t want to have to go through that again.

I still worry about what will happen if it doesn’t work. Especially because I know it’s only a matter of time before we are faced with a pregnancy within our family once again. Will everything blow up like it did 2.5 years ago? Will I go into a tailspin of darkness? Or will I manage to accept the outcome of my life and openly embrace what happens.

I’ve really struggled with the threat of a repeat of what happened in Dec 2010 – March 2011, that caused a crevice in my family; and me going off work for three months, barely able to get out of bed. So since January I’ve been preparing, waiting with baited breath anytime the talk of a potential pregnancy came up, and then my body relaxing when something was done to reassure me it wasn’t yet to be.

The amazing thing was that as time went on, I didn’t get as uptight about the pregnancy possibility. And in turn, I worried less about what might NOT happen with me to instead focus on the GREAT thing I already have. I can’t control the fact that some people get pregnant just by thinking about it. What I can control is how blessed I am being able to experience pregnancy, child-birth and motherhood at least once, which is still more than a lot of women out there.

I used to put a lot of faith in my Patriarchal Blessing as it mentioned children in my life (not just 1 – at least 2). However, Ryan has wisely reminded me our Patriarchal Blessings are not only in this lifetime, but through eternity as well. So I am placing less focus on that it will happen right now and instead placing more trust in Heavenly Father. I believe He will find a way for us to have more children if that is in our future. But to do that, I need to live in the moment and appreciate what I have already been blessed with, while remembering that this great gift that I have been given is a sacred privilege, not a right.

So when I hit a roadblock in April that caused my plans for an embryo transferred to be delayed by 8 weeks or so, I was able to bounce back quickly and stay relatively positive (other than the one breakdown after I had to cancel my ultrasound and was told it couldn’t be re-booked and I’d have to wait until my next cycle. Although, it might have also been because my grandmother had just died and we were dealing with funeral arrangements and hospital headaches). I felt like this just meant it wasn’t quite time yet, but when the time was right, the door would be opened for me.

I am always surprised by how easily this journey has been compared to the first time. The fact that I have such a great little boy at home doesn’t hurt! He has healed so much in my life already, I just don’t know what I would do without him and I hope as he gets older I can continue to let him know what a blessing he is to me. He is everything I could have ever wanted and if this new journey allows for a larger family ~ then that’s just gravy ❤

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Throwback Thursday

My earliest memories are from when I was around 2.5/3 years old. That’s also the first time I got to see a movie at the movie theatre. My Aunt had taken my cousin, brother and I to see Don Bluth’s American Tail. It’s still one of my favourite movies to this day, actually.

My brother and cousin were sitting in front of my Aunt and I was lucky enough to have some popcorn while we watched. Do you remember the part in the middle of the movie when Feivel ends up in the sewers with the cats and find out Warren T. Rat is actually a cat? Yeah, well, there were some scary parts in there (especially for a three year old) and I jumped.

So did my popcorn. All over my brother and cousin. Oops…

photo(1) This is me and my mom when I was about 4 months old 🙂

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