In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, February 29, 2008

Pregnant women by the Census Bureau's numbers

Pregnant women are working longer into pregnancy and returning to work sooner than they did in the 1960s, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

As I read through the article, I kept wondering, "Are they going to say anything about the huge increase in late-in-life moms?"

I scanned past the statistic stating 67% of women who were pregnant with their first child from 2001 to 2003 worked during pregnancy, compared with 44% in the early 1960s. The report found that about 80% of women who worked during pregnancy from 2001 to 2003 worked until their last month of pregnancy, compared with 35% from 1961 to 1965.

And--Eureka! There it was. The report also found that the percentage of first births to women 30 and older increased from 4% in 1970 to 24% in 2000. That's quite an increase in older moms--and I would wager a good portion of those women fall into the over-35 catergory, which earns them the Advanced Maternal Age Label.

So--those are the stats. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised. Not by the increase in over 30 moms. But because I keep reading about more women leaving the business world to be stay-at-home moms. But, according to the numbers, from 2001 to 2003 about 55% of women returned to work within six months after giving birth, compared with 14% in the early 1960s.

Motherhood--it's an interesting experience, any way you look at it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flu Season

It's flu season.

I know, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. It's flu season here--and it's flu season where you are too.

On the home front, Christa spent yesterday on the couch, once again watching too much television and wanting me to rub her feet. What can I say? Like mother, like daughter. I like to have my feet rubbed too. She even took a late afternoon nap--and my caboose kiddo is not a napper.

But looks like it's Back To School Day for Christa!

My husband, who is a family physician, has seen a lot of the flu up-close and personal, thanks to the many patients who have filled his exam rooms to overflowing. And, despite the fact that he got his flu shot, Rob got a mild case of the flu--and shared it with me, even though I got a flu shot too.

Recent news headlines tell us the flu vaccine hasn't targeted this year's flu. So, why did we bother?

Now a federal advisory board is recommending that all children get flu shots. Up until now, flu shots were recommended for children under 5. Now, they're being recommended for children between six months old and 18 years. Children ages 5 to 18 get the flu at higher rates than other age groups, but they don’t tend to get as sick. Experts believe giving flu shots to more children may prevent the flu from spreading to adults and the elderly, although studies haven’t clearly established that will happen.

Right now, I'm just thinking I'm focused on today--not next flu season. One day at a time. I'm thankful that today my daughter is back to normal. I'm thankful I can get back to normal too--and try to catch up on all the things I've ignored on my To Do list.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The caboose kiddo has a temp and mama's got the blues

Christa has been sick for three days now. I shouldn't be surprised. It's flu season, after all, and her school has been hit hard. But I thought Christa was going to get through unscathed.

Silly me.

Her temperature has gone up and down and back up again. She alternates between feeling lousy to feeling fine--and then she's back on the couch feeling lousy again.

And so, my schedule has been knocked a-kilter. I sit by her while she rests on the couch. Then I sneak into my office to check e-mail and edit some writing--all the while feeling guilty that I'm not sitting by my daughter.

I've let appointments slide and ignored my grocery list. Yesterday, I finally took her on a few errands once her temperature was normal. Of course, that didn't last long and I felt guilty for dragging my droopy kiddo out of the house.

Bad mommy.

I feel like that Push-Me-Pull-Me creature in Dr.Dolittle. I want to focus all my attention on Christa and what she needs right now. But I also know I need to focus my attention on other things like my huge To Do list for my upcoming conference. So I run back and forth, trying to meet her needs and my needs--and wearing myself thin in the process.

This too shall pass, I know.

But--not today. Christa's up and her temp is down, but she's still droopy and draggy, complaining of an upset stomach. I'm not sure she'll make it to school today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Trading Eggs for Infertility Treatments: Should She or Shouldn't She?

Hundreds of British women have given away half their eggs for reduced-priced fertility treatments, according to an article in TimesOnline. In exchange for giving away half their eggs, women pay as little as one-sixth of the cost of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that in 770 fertility cycles, women who traded half their eggs for treatment failed to give birth while the women they gave their eggs to have had their biological children.

In a related article, 15 British women agreed to donate their eggs for human-cloning experiments in exchange for discounted fertility treatments.

The North-East England Stem Cell Institute is offering women in vitro fertilization treatments at a 50 percent discount if they agree to donate half of the eggs produced during the treatment.

The question is raised: Does offering such a monetary discount take advantage of women who are desperate for infertility treatments--but who can't afford them? And, by giving away their eggs, do these women actually reduce their chances of pregnancy, while helping other women get pregnant?

Should she or shouldn't she?

Would you?

Monday, February 25, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms February 25, 2008

The news seems to be all about the Oscars today. But I did find an interesting, i.e. outside the box, article over at

Pioneering midwife touts 'orgasmic birth'

I don't usually pair the words "orgasmic" and "birth." And to be quite honest, I think the headline is a bit sensational. Most of the article is about Ina May Gaskin, 67, and how she helped bring lay midwifery and home birth back from extinction in the United States. Gaskin, who has no formal nursing training, is passionate about natural childbirth and the rights of a mother.

The article juxtaposes Gaskin's views on natural childbirth with statistics on maternal deaths and the high rate of Caesarean sections in the U.S. Only until the very end of the article does Gaskin talk about the movie she is filming called "The Orgasmic Birth."

Gaskin says that under the right circumstances women experience a sort of birth ecstasy.
“I mean, it’s not a guarantee,” she said, shrugging her shoulders and smiling, “but it’s a possibility.

“It’s the only way I can think to market it to (this) generation.”

So--is this a real viable option for birthing moms or a marketing ploy?

I'm all for mothers' rights--having a saying in their birthing experience. But I also wanted someone with experience helping me through the process. And sometimes I wanted--and even needed--someone with medical knowledge and experience. Something Gaskin doesn't have.

It's personal choice, I know. And I have friends who have made all sorts of birthing choices: natural childbirth, homebirth, C-section--yes, some by choice, some by medical emergency.

But not one of my friends has every described the process as "orgasmic." Joy came after labor and delivery--when they held their child in their arms.

Everything else was hard work. That's why it's called L-A-B-O-R.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Welcome to the Late-in-Life Mom Club, J. Lo!

Celebrity Jennifer Lopez, 38, gave birth to twins --a girl and a boy-- at 12:45 AM Friday. Her daughter weighed 5 pounds, 7 ounces and her son weighed 6 pounds, according to sources.

J.Lo joins the ranks of other well-known mommies-come-lately like CNN anchor Nancy Grace, actresses Julia Roberts and Brooke Shields, and singer Sheryl Crowe.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Half and Half

For the past few years, Rob and I have been experiencing a half-empy nest.

Our daughter, Katie Beth, moved into her own apartment. Our son Josh got married. We still had two daughters at home--Amy, who is 19, and Christa, who is 7.

That's a 50-50 split.

Things are about to change.

Josh and Jenelle are packing up their belongings--including a dog and a cat--saying goodbye to New York, and moving back to Colorado. Around March 1st, they will move into our basement apartment while they job hunt.

Katie Beth's roommate is getting married. With and extra year of college, Katie Beth asked if she could move back home to save money. So, come the end of April, we'll have another adult--and another cat--joining the family.

Will it be a little crowded? Yep. But we are okay with that. Not sure what all the animals are going to think about it. With our pets it makes a total of 3 dogs and 3 cats. Thank God for a big backyard.

Christa is thrilled. At last, all the older siblings who left her behind--plus a much-loved sister-in-law--are returning. It doesn't get any better than this.

And Rob and I are thankful Josh and Jen know they are welcome to use our house as home base while they get resettled in Colorado. We know it's temporary. But that's what family is for--help when you need it.

Eventually, the nest will empty again. I'll enjoy all the kiddos--the big ones and the little one--while they're home. And I'll get out of their way when it's time for them to move on again. I did it once before. I can do it again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Late-in-Life Motherhood: By Adoption

The paths to late-in-life motherhood are varied. Some women to choose to wait to have children until they are older. Some are surprised by an unexpected pregnancy.

If you are over 35 and are considering adopting a child, let me recommend Laura Christentian's book The Adoption Decision: 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting, which helps prospective adoptive parents work through insecurities and questions about adoption and adoptive parenting.

Laura specializes in writing and speaking about adoption-related issues. An adoptive mom since 1992, Laura is the founder and coordinator of Heartbeat Ministries. Based in Seattle’s University Presbyterian Church, Heartbeat Ministries offers support, encouragement, and resources for infertile couples, pre- and post-adoptive families.

Among the topics covered in this “how-to for the heart”:

  • Creative ways to announce your decision to adopt

  • Understanding the critical role birth parents play

  • Working through the emotions of a failed adoption

  • Unpacking the “baggage” an older child brings into an adoptive family

  • Processing culture shock after international adoption

  • Managing your child’s behavioral challenges

  • Expressing unconditional love to your child

Laura also has a blog called Exploring Adoption that is a wonderful resource for adoptive parents too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Something I Don't Do

I don't do science projects.

Sure, I did them when I was in school and the annual science fair rolled around. But once I was the mom, I declared science projects Dad's domain--and let my husband Rob have all the fun. After all, Rob is the engineer-turned-physician in the family. He should handle the science and the math projects. I am the writer. I handle the writing assignments. My children learned that no paper is turned in without at least one rewrite.

Christa has a science project due on Friday, which is why Rob and she spent the evening in the garage. The assignment: Create a simple machine.

Is there such a thing? Not as far as I'm concerned. But, after reading her assignment paper, which is as involved as I'll get in this project, I learned simple machines are things like pulleys and incline planes and levers.

Rob listened to Christa change her mind a gazillion times about what simple machine she wanted to work on. Finally, he agreed on a combo: something with pulleys and an incline plane and a lever. They drew up a design and rummaged through the wood pile in our garage. No, we do not have a wood burning stove. My husband just hates to throw away leftover wood from other projects. Then they spent an hour or so measuring and sawing and hammering and nailing things down. Christa ran back and forth for the things her Dad needed--and finally invited me out to have a look.

Of course, I loved the simple machine Christa and Rob are building. But what I loved more was the smile on Christa's face. It matched the one of my husband's face. And I recalled all the times Rob worked on projects with our three oldest kiddos. At the time, all the effort seems like it is about earning a grade. But I know it is more than that. It is time with Dad--doing something together. Planning. Designing. Making something work--together.

Long after the science project lies forgotten in the garage--maybe back in the wood pile--the memory of time with Dad will stay with Christa.

**Thanks to all the moms who posted a comment on Trish Berg's book Rattled. "Stamped with Grace" won the copy! Send me your address and I'll get it in the mail to you.**

Monday, February 18, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms February 18, 2008

News to know for mommies-come-lately:

Women tea-drinkers have less plaque in arteries
Older women who reported drinking at least three cups of tea a day were less likely to have plaque in the carotid arteries in their neck than those drinking less tea, according to French researchers. Tea-drinking women may be lowering their risk for heart disease and stroke, the findings suggest.
The investigators did not gather data on what types of tea the women drank or how long they had been drinking tea.

Hair sample may provide breast cancer diagnosis
Researchers report that hair from women with breast cancer can be distinguished from hair obtained from women without the disease. Further testing is needed to determine if this is an accurate diagnostic test for breast cancer.

Feeling stressed out linked to cervical cancer
Research suggests that feeling stressed may play a role in the development of cervical cancer. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has long been known as the primary cause of cervical cancer, but the virus alone doesn't seem to be enough to induce the disease. The new study found that feeling stressed out may be one such factor by impairing the body's ability to fight off the virus. However, researchers said their findings are still preliminary.

Breathing dirty air may lower kids' IQ
Kids who live in neighborhoods with heavy traffic pollution have lower IQs and score worse on other tests of intelligence and memory than children who breathe cleaner air, a new study shows.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rattled: Surviving Your Baby's First Year Without Losing Your Cool

**Post a comment for a chance to win a copy of Rattled.**

Let me introduce you to my friend and writing buddy, Trish Berg.

Trish's newest book, Rattled, is filled from cover to cover with fun stories, practical advice and encouragement from other moms. Each chapter even has an S.O.S.: Spiritual Opportunity to Savor.

When I sat down to read my copy of Rattled, it was like Trish was sitting across from me, talking, laughing, sharing life as a mom with me, moment by moment. Even though I'm long past surviving my babies' first years, I still enjoyed remembering the trials and travails--and the joys of that time in my life.

Trish knows one way moms survive motherhood is by laughing--a lot. Consider this (partial) list:

The Evolution of Motherhood

Your Clothes

First baby. You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your ob-gyn confirms your pregnancy.

Second baby. You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.

Third baby. Your maternity clothes are your regular clothes.

Preparing for the Birth

First baby. You practice your breathing religiously.

Second baby. You don't bother practicing, because you remember that last time, breathing didn't do a thing.

Third baby. You ask for an epidural in your eighth month.

Rattled is all about babies. But because she knows having a baby affects everyone in a family, Trish also talks about the husband-wife relationship, sibling relationships--even in-law relationships. Trish knows of what she writes. But then, as the mother of four children, she writes from personal experience.

If you'd like to win a copy of Rattled, post a comment today. I'll draw a name and announce the winner on Monday.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

My husband and I have been each other's Valentines for 29 years now.
That's a long time.
But look at the photo of our family and see what those 29 years created.
I like to say there's a whole lot more to "Happily Ever After" than fairy tales ever let on.
Even when you love somebody, not every day is happy.
And some days are just hard, hard, hard.
But my husband and I still have one another.
We have four wonderful children and a daughter-in-love who fit right into our family like the answer to pray she is.
Our family has known its sorrows and we've celebrated many joys too.
On this Valentine's Day, I hope you spend some time with those you love--holding them close in your arms or in your heart.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Growing Up Right Before My Eyes

Christa is losing her baby teeth.

She's got a gapped-tooth grin that is endearing. Two bottom teeth are missing and her top front tooth is hidden under her pillow even as I type this blog. The other front tooth won't be in her mouth for long.

Losing each tooth is a long, drawn out ordeal. Christa hates the wiggle-wiggle-wiggle effort required to get her teeth to budge.

I've got to admit, I hate to see her baby teeth go. It's not the process--although sometimes I grow a little weary of reminding Christa that she survived losing teeth before and she'll do it again. She doesn't need to be a dental drama queen--at least, not over baby teeth.

Once those new teeth come in, Christa's face will take on a new, more grown up shape. I'll lose sight of my little girl as she grows up, one tooth at a time.
So every time I cheer for my daughter when another tooth finally falls out, there's a part of me that's sad. I find myself taking extra peeks at her little face--and its silly, uneven smile--trying to imprint it in my memory.

Before I know it, Christa's little girl grin will be replaced, with "big girl" teeth--and a more grown up Christa.

I know I'll like that version of my daughter too. I'll just miss the "little girl" smile. I kind of got used to it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Staying Connected

My caboose kiddo and I have a basic morning routine.

Her dad usually gets the day started, making sure we're both up and at 'em. He's the early riser in the family, not because he wants to be, but because he has to be.

We trade off breakfast duty. Sometimes I man the toaster oven. Sometimes Dad does. I, however, always double-check the clothes selection of the day. I also always do Christa's hair.

By 7:30 AM, things are usually pretty well settled. Christa's fed. Her teeth and hair are brushed. Her backpack stands by the door, next to her coat. Christa asks for a few minutes of television while we wait for the carpool to show up. I sit on the steps in the hallway, watching for her ride.

Why is she sitting in the family room while I'm sitting in the foyer?

It's only a few minutes, I know. But why are we spending those minutes apart?

This morning, I called to Christa to come sit with me on the steps.

"You want to read the comics with me?"

"Sure! That would be fun!" Christa said.

She snuggled up next to me and we picked out her favorite comics: Family Circle and Mutts and even Pearls Before Swine. We shared a couple of giggles--and I didn't mind that I had to stop reading the sports section. It'll be there later.

I think we've just added something new to our morning routine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms February 11, 2008

In the news:

Acupuncture may hike odds of pregnancy
A scientific review suggests acupuncture might improve the odds of conceiving if done right before or after embryos are placed in the womb, according to results published in the British journal BMJ.
While the surprising finding is far from proven, some fertility specialists say they are hopeful this relatively inexpensive and simple treatment might ultimately prove to be a useful add-on to traditional methods.

Hyper kid? Sleep apnea may be culprit
Obstructive sleep apnea, which affects 2 percent of children, has made headlines in recent years because it's more common in obese youth. Still, experts say, sleep apnea is often overlooked by doctors. Some fear children are being inappropriately diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated, while the underlying sleep problem goes untreated.

Cost of fertility treatment calculated
The cost of giving birth using assisted reproduction technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) exceeds $100,000 when the probability of a live birth falls below 15 percent, according to a new study.
Researchers calculated the probability of a live birth following assisted reproduction technologies based on the age of the women and levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), a surrogate measure of ovarian reserve, and calculated the cost of a live birth. Such information is "vital for patient counseling," researchers said, adding that "couples who are considering fertility treatments need the best information possible."

Study says bullying harms children's mental health
There is strong evidence that being bullied can cause children to develop depression and anxiety, according to a new study of twins.
Researchers studied identical twin pairs in which one experienced bullying between the ages of 7 and 9 and the other did not. The bullied twin was significantly more likely to have symptoms of internalizing problems at age 10, researchers found.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Friday's List for Moms

Eight Foundation Builders for Your Family
  1. Hug and praise them.
  2. See discipline as an asset.
  3. Create traditions.
  4. Cultivate laughter.
  5. Stay close to teachers.
  6. Be where they are.
  7. Share your life with them.
  8. Keep a long-range perspective.

~Susan Alexandar Yates

From: How to Like the Ones You Love

As you read that list, did any one of the foundation builders catch your eye?

My husband and I try to cultivate laughter (#4) in our family. We watch funny movies with our kiddos--old Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis comedies. I know, I'm dating myself here, but I first watched those movies as reruns! There's nothing more fun than watching your children laugh so hard that they are red in the face, with tears streaming down their cheeks. And there is something about playing cards--Uno or Pit--that brings out the giggles in my girls.

What about you? How are you building a strong foundation in your family?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

When the Words Won't Come

"I didn't think it could get any worse ... and it did."
That's what my friend David said after hearing that his son's initial diagnosis--and prognosis--has changed.
And not for the better.
In the face of their son's cancer, David and Renee were just finding their balance in the midst of chemo and CAT scans and bloodwork. And now the rug has been pulled out from under them.
I found myself grasping for words--something, anything I could say to them.
Very few words.
Many, many tears.
Prayers that felt like heart-moans.
I left the hospital last night, realizing I needed to be thankful that for now all is well in my family. Just a few days ago, all was well with David and Renee's.
Circumstances have changed.
Their faith in God has not.
"I am 100 % positive that God will do what is best for Ian," David said.
And I was amazed at his confident courage in the face of his heartbreak.

I know this blog is dedicated to late-in-life moms. Renee is a mommy-come-lately too--but that is not the point of this post. This is one mom talking out loud about another mom's heartache. I know any other mom out there who reads this post will understand--and pray. Pray for Ian. Pray for David and Renee--and for all their family.
It is all--and everything--we can do.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Faith in the Face of Heartache

Two days ago, I held a dear friend in my arms and let her cry out her heartache.
This pain is not going to disappear with a few tears. I know the days ahead will hold many more opportunities for Renee to shed tears.
Her 12-year-old son has cancer.
Within the past 48 hours, Renee and her husband faced the diagnosis and prognosis and the beginning of chemotherapy. Their son has endured a bone marrow biopsy. He now has a port in his body, through which he has already received his first round of chemo. Our prayer is that he responds well to treatment.
At one point, my friend whispered, "I don't know how to comfort him."
I knew that was her fear--that she would not be able to comfort her son.
But I also knew that fear was unfounded.
"You'll know what to say, Renee," I whispered in her ear. "You'll be with your son every step of the way. God will help you be what your son needs right now."
Both Renee and her husband have been knocked off their feet by their son's illness. And yet, their faith is the firm ground they are standing on. They are not backing down. They are rallying around their son.
It's what moms and dads do. When the unimaginable happens, we face it because we must--for our children.
My friend and her family are not alone in this. They are surrounded by friends and family--and prayers upon prayers.
May God be mighty on their son's behalf.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms February 5, 2008

The news you need to know:

Baby shampoo study raises chemical concerns
A small study suggests baby shampoos, lotions and powders may expose infants to chemicals linked with possible reproductive problems.The chemicals, called phthalates, were found in elevated levels in the urine of babies who'd been recently shampooed, powdered or lotioned with baby products. Phthalates are used to stabilize fragrances and make plastics--such as toys and vinyl flooring--flexible. The study's results are being debated by health professionals.

No link between autism and MMR vaccine
The largest study to date of a vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella reported there is no evidence the vaccine causes autism.
The study, published on Tuesday in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, found no evidence of any abnormal biological response from the shot that could point to a link between the vaccine and autism.

Can pregnant women drink alcohol in moderation?
An estimated 14-15 percent of pregnant women choose not to give up alcohol, despite public health warnings. Some medical providers think that's okay. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, as well as the March of Dimes, recommend zero alcohol for moms to be.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

I'm back from the writers conference and received a wonderful surprise: my author's copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms. My story, "Of Lizards and Laughter and Love," is in the Special Moments section.

I enjoy reading Chicken Soup for the Soul books--so it's fun to be published in their newest volume. I turned to the Table of Contents to get a glimpse of the other stories, and discovered a writing friend, Celeste Palermo, has a story in the book! Her story is "Cappuccino Tacos and Bubble Pie."

I can't wait to read the book from cover to cover. But right now this mommy-come-lately has to finish unpacking and get back to being a mom!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Baby Changes Everything Book Fun!

I'm attending the Christian Writers Guild's Writing for the Soul conference at the Broadmoor this weekend.
I pitched my book idea at a Writing for the Soul conference several years ago.
Found out I had a book contract right before the conference the next year.
Was finalizing my galley proofs the following year.
This year, Baby Changes Everything is a Guild staff pick! Along with several other Guild graduates' books, Baby Changes Everything is in the conference bookstore. I'm participating in a book signing on Saturday.
It's fun--and that's an understatement--to see a book go from idea to proposal to draft to galley proof to published.
I'll get back to mommy-come-lately news next week. For now--I'm off to some workshops!!

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