In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In the News October 1, 2007

News of interest for mommies-come-lately:

Depression Common Before, During and After Pregnancy

A study involving 4,300 women found that 1 in 7 were depressed before, during or after childbirth. The study, published in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, included these statistics:

  • during the nine months before pregnancy, 8.7% of the women were diagnosed with depression
  • 6.7% of the women were treated for depression during their pregnancies
  • 10.4% of the women experienced postpartum depression

Mercury-Containing Vaccine Vindicated

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes early exposure to thimerosal does not cause any neurological problems. There have been claims the additive causes autism and other brain development disorders in children. However, other studies found thimerosal causes no long-term negative effects on children's health.

Woman Delivers 17-Pound Baby

A 42-year-old woman delivered her 12th child, a daughter weighing 17.05 pounds. The baby was delivered via Caeserean section.

U.S. Approves Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine for Young Children

The Food and Drug Administration approved Flumist, a nasal spray flu vaccine, for children ages 2-5.

Some Drugs Carry High Fetal Risk

According to a recent medical study, women of childbearing age may unknowingly take medication that could cause birth defects. The study suggests doctors be more diligent in counseling their patients on possible effects of medications.

Crib Bumpers Can Do More Harm Than Good

Soft crib bumpers can strangle or suffocate infants, according to a study in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Strong Enough to be a Mom

"I don't know if I can do this again."

I had a lot of different reactions when I found out I was pregnant again at 41.

Morning sickness ambushed my body for 4 1/2 months, so physically I battled all-day nausea. No fun, whether you're pregnant at 21 or 31 or 41.

Mentally, I started calculating all the "I'll be this old when my child is that old" statistics--what I call the "Mommy-Come-Lately Math." Want to know how old I'll be when Christa finally graduates from high school? I had that figured out before I finished my first trimester.

Emotionally, I was on a wild rollercoaster ride. Stunned. Overwhelmed. Ashamed of my ambivelance. Most of all, I wondered if I could do this again. This being motherhood--investing my heart and soul into the life of this child.

I wasn't worried so much about the physical exhaustion of motherhood. There is that, to be sure. I didn't look forward to sleepless nights with a fussy baby. And there were so many times I sat and held Christa in the same rocking chair that I'd rocked her three siblings in and told her, "I'm too old for these late nights, baby."

I was more concerned about the wear and tear on my heart. By the time I was 41, I'd been on active duty as a mom for 17 years. My heart bore the battle scars of motherhood.

A mother's heart aches with every hurt her children experiences--be they skinned knees or bruised emotions. I knew I couldn't shield my "caboose baby" from being hurt by a careless step or a careless word, just as I hadn't been able to protect her brother and sisters.

Was I up to this again--the heart-expanding experience of motherhood where my heart would beat with this child's, feeling her joy and her pain? To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was. But the moment I held my daughter in my arms for the first time, I no longer had a choice.

I love, love, love Christa. I hurt when she hurts. I open my arms wide when she needs a place of comfort. I wipe away her tears. I rejoice when she is over-the-moon thrilled with her life and laughs with childish abandon. My heart aches with both the sadness and the beauty that comes into my Christa's life.

I'm a mom.

It's what I do.

Getting Back on Track

I took a few days off from blogging while I attended the annual MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International) Convention.

Since Baby Changes Everything is a MOPS brand book, I was asked to teach a workshop at the Convention. And, since the Convention was in Orlando, Rob and Christa came along. You don't get that close to Orlando and not take your 6 1/2 year old daughter with you!

The Convention is an amazing event. Thousands of women--4-5,000 of them--get together to learn how to be better MOPS leaders.

MOPS knows how to throw a party too. They bring in great worship leaders like Sara Groves and Matt Redman. They add performers like Go Fish, a Christian a cappella group whose goal is to perform music for kids that doesn't drive parents bonkers.

General session speakers included Elisa Morgan, MOPS CEO, and Naomi Cramer Overton, MOPS President, and authors John Ortberg and Julie Barnhill.

Rob took Christa to Sea World while I taught my workshop "Baby Changes Everything: Now Tell Me Something I Don't Know." Yes, it played off the title of my book, but the workshop focused on how our children change us--how motherhood is a life-changing experience.

The next day it was time to tackle The Magic Kingdom! While Christa, Rob and I rode Peter Pan's Flight and Dumbo and The Jungle Cruise, I kept hearing echoes of my first three kiddos' laughter. The last time we'd visited Disneyworld, Amy was Christa's age. It was fun to tell Christa, "We did this with Josh and Katie Beth and Amy too!" as we climbed through The Swiss Family Robison's Tree House or listened to the Tiki Birds singing. The day seemed all the more special to Christa because she was following in her brother's and sisters' footsteps.

Now I'm back on the mommy-track. We got back home--and Christa got sick with a bad flu. There was no time to unpack my "professional" clothes. I was too busy caring for my oh, so miserable daughter. Back to reality--and I'm okay with that. Christa bounced back quickly, as young children do. The suitcases got unpacked. It's good to get away--and it's always good to come back home.

Life is good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

This and That

I'm off to the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International) Annual Convention. Since it's in sunny Orlando, Florida, Rob and Christa are coming along too. For them it's all about fun, including a day at Sea World. Me? I'll mix some fun in with some work.

The Convention is an amazing event. Thousands of MOPS leaders attend to be encouraged and taught how to better lead their MOPS groups. I went last year and, let me tell you, seeing 5,000 women in one auditorium is amazing--and just a bit noisy!

I'm presenting a workshop called Baby Changes Everything: Now Tell Me Something I Don't Know! I've talked this through so many times, I'm ready to go "live" with an audience.
I'm planning on some fun too--Rob and I are taking Christa on her first visit to Disneyworld.

Christa's sporting a new "do" for our trip. She's been wanting to get her hair cut short for months now. I convinced her to wait until after this past weekend, when she was a flower girl in a friend's wedding. (That's one advantage to being a mommy-come-lately: your caboose kiddo can be loaned out for flower girl duty--or ring bearer duty, if you have a son.)

Just a few hours after the wedding, Christa walked into the hair salon still wearing her fancy white dress. She made quite an entrance! I'm thrilled to say she donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love. Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. While I had to close my eyes when Christa's long, long hair was cut off, I was thankful to know it wasn't just being thrown into the trash. She'll be helping some other child--and she's enjoying her new short style.

Monday, September 17, 2007

In the News September 17, 2007

News of interest for mommies-come-lately and their families:

Breastfeeding Does Not Reduce Risk of Asthma or Allergies
Babies who were exclusively breastfed until they were at least three months old did not have a decreased likelihood of developing asthma or allergies, researchers report.

Pine Bark Extract May Improve Menopause Symptoms
A study suggests that pine bark extract may offer a hormone-free alternative for women with hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

Despite Stigma, 1 in 10 Pregnant Women Smoke
Depression may make it harder for women to quit smoking during pregnancy

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Grateful Day Sept 14, 2007

Starting my Friday on the run, and I'm thankful for the energy to do so. Life in the "sprint" lane seems to be my normal--and I'm not complaining. At least, I'm not complaining today.

I'm also grateful for:
  • discovering radio interviews--both taped ones and live ones--aren't so bad. I've done five or six so far since my book came out and it's fun. It's a bit odd to sit in my den and talk on my phone to someone sitting in their radio station in Washington or Texas. Callers can ask some unexpected questions. But, so far the interviews are going well.
  • my friends and family who've listened to my radio interviews or even called in--Hi, Roxanne and Shellie and Mom! (That's another story for another blog.) It's always nice to know you've got at least a few friendly listeners.
  • the Air Force Academy beating TCU. And the Broncos beating the Bills. What can I say? I love football. Y'all have an open invitation to come watch football at my house. Just understand that I jump up and down and pace and rant and rave. There is one rule in our house when Mom's watching football: Don't walk in front of the TV.
  • discovering I had a flat tire before it went completely flat--although I discovered it after it had damaged the rim. Rats. At least I wasn't stranded on the highway. My husband came to my rescue and handled it for me. I hate car problems. Hate, hate, hate them.
  • the women who have read Baby Changes Everything and then taken the time to tell me how much it encourages them. I think I am repeating myself here, but it bears repeating. I wrote the book to encourage mommies-come-lately--and it is happening! I'll post some of their much-appreciated words next week.

So, what about you? What are you grateful for today? Post a comment and let me know.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thoughts on September 11th Anniversary

I remember I was driving my kids to school when I first realized something was wrong.
My daughter Amy, who was then 13, was surfing the radio channels on my car. As she flipped past one station, I heard the announcer say, "We'll keep you updated on the plane that crashed into the World Trade Center . . ." and then she continued on looking for music.
"Wait, Amy. Go back. Something's wrong."
Information was sparse and by the time I dropped Josh, Katie Beth and Amy off at school, we didn't know much more. I drove home with Christa, who was 6 months old, turned on the news--and was horrified along with the rest of the country at what happened next.
My husband was in the military back then--stationed at a base several hours from where we lived. He couldn't get to us--but I could get to my kids--and I did. I drove to their school and was greeted by security personnel who wouldn't let me pick up my children unless I showed them my I.D. These were parents who knew me.
On the way home, Amy asked, "Mom, are we at war?"
"I don't know, Amy. I hate to say it, but I think we are."
I kept the TV turned on for hours, watching and re-watching the planes crash and the towers fall. I kept hoping and praying that we would hear reports of people being saved.
Finally, Amy begged me to turn the TV off. Later that day she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Mom, I know I'm supposed to forgive the people who did this. But I don't know if I can."
I felt a lot of different emotions on September 11, 2001. Grief. Horror. Pride in how our country stood united.
I was also humbled by my daughter--who in the earliest hours of that tragedy was already beginning to think how she could begin to forgive.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

In the News September 10, 2007

Britain's Mommies-Come-Lately
One-third of all couples in Britain struggle with infertilty, according to a national survey. The survey involved 3200 women, with an average age of 37.

Food Dyes and Preservatives May Make Children Act Up
Some artificial food colors and preservativies commonly found in snack foods may wind kids up, research suggests.

Newsweek Article: The Pregnancy Diet: Health for Life
New research suggests mothers-to-be can help their unborn baby be a healthier adult by monitoring their own diet, exercise and weight.

Latest Celebrity Mommy-Come-Lately: Halle Berry
Actress Halle Berry pregnant at 41.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Grateful Day Sept. 7, 2007

It's early Friday morning. I'm trying to get some editing in before Christa makes her appearance--all still-sleepy hugs and "Aren't-you-glad-I'm-here" smiles.


I know I bemoan my fate as a mommy-come-lately of a child who wakes up much too early and much too chipper. And yet I think wrapping my arms around a just-waking-up child, her body still warm from her blankets, is--as the song goes--one of my favorite things.

Other things I am grateful for:

  • I am grateful that, while I tend to see the glass half empty--apologies to all you optimists--my husband balances me out and pours his glass half full into my glass.

  • I am grateful that I am getting everything done that I need to get done and that I am no longer saying, "I'll never get it all done." I either will or I won't. That's easy enough to figure out.

  • I am grateful my car has a new clutch, new brake pads, new spark plugs, new air filter, blah, blah, blah . . . I'm not an automotive freak, but I do know all those thingamabobs will make my car run smoothly and will stop the idiot lights from coming on. I hate it when the idiot lights come on in my car. I want to pull over to the side of the road and abandon my car. It's not what the manual says to do, but it's my gut instinct.

  • I am grateful people are reading Baby Changes Everything. Really. And I am grateful when they e-mail and tell me they laughed out loud or cried while they they read it. I am grateful when they tell me the book encouraged them. That's why I wrote the book--to encourage other mommies-come-lately. And it's happening. It doesn't get a whole lot better than that for a writer.

May your day be anchored in gratefulness.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back To School Night--Again

I joke that I should be excused from all of Christa's Back To School Nights and Parent/Teacher Conferences. Afterall, I'm a pro. Attending her siblings' events should earn me a pass, right?


I sat in those too-tiny desks for Josh, Katie Beth and Amy. I'll do it for Christa.
I read through the school handbook for Josh, Katie Beth and Amy. I'll do it for Christa. I think I could recite the thing--snow day policy and dress codes and the academic calendar--in my sleep!

I listened to teachers explain the daily routines and ask for classroom help and talk about field trips and give out dates for Christmas concerts and Spring concerts for my first three kiddos. And I'll do it again for the next 11 years for Christa.

As much as I joke about wanting to opt out, being involved in Christa's life isn't optional. It was important to Christa that her dad and I were there. We found a note waiting for us on her desk. (All the children wrote notes to their parents in their journals.) Christa's went something like this:

Dear Mom and Dad,
Thanks for coming tonight. Look at
the fish! What did you do in first grade? Love, Christa.

So her dad and I looked at the fish. We wrote her a note in her journal about what we liked in first grade. We peeked inside her desk because Christa loves having her own desk in first grade.

That's what's important to her right now--so that's what's important to us.

Monday, September 03, 2007

In the News September 3, 2007

First, a bit of news for writing moms of all ages:

There's a fun writing contest going on over at the blog Writer Mama: How to Raise a Career Alongside Your Kids. The contest lasts all month long. You might win all sorts of fun prizes including copies 0f the 2008 Writers Digest Market Guide and a one-hour writing career phone consult by posting comments on the question of the day. Come on over and join the fun!

Repeater Mommy-Come-Lately: Mom of Triplets for the Second Time!
Victoria and Tom Lasita, already the parents of triplets, are now the parents of a second set! Victoria, 39, gave birth to Casey, Cadon and Carson on Wednesday, August 29th. Their siblings, Jessica, Jillian and Brian are 4 years old. Both sets of triplets were conceived without fertility treatments.

Flaxseed May Ease Hot Flashes
A small preliminary study of 29 women found that taking flaxseed daily decreased hot flashes.

Link Suggested Between Mother's Diabetes and Children's Obesity
A new study in the September issue of Diabetes Care found that mothers with untreated gestational diabetes were twice as likely to bear overweight children, compared to healthy moms.

Chemical Found in Non-Stick Cookware Linked to Low Birth Weight
Birth weight may be modestly reduced when a mom is exposed to even low levels of of a chemical found in non-stick cookware, stain resistant carpet spray and other products, according to researchers. While there may be cause for concern, researchers said they still need to learn a lot more about what is going on.

Exposure to Parents' Cigarette Smoke Increases a Woman's Risk of Miscarriage
New research reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that women who were exposed to their parents' smoking as a child have an increased risk of miscarriage.

e-newsletter signup
Free Resources
Books and CDs
For Writers
For Moms Over 35