Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On work and motherhood

I returned to work a week and a half ago and while I am happy with my new company and at peace about our decision, I have gotten some reactions from other women that have deeply saddened me.

The reactions have not come  from men, but from other  women, all of them mothers.

It was not an easy decision, but one that I knew one day would come as we need my job at this time.

 If it were my choice I would work part time or from a job at home only a few hours a day and dedicate most of my time to Josemaria until he is older.

Since I was so conflicted in the beginning  (I was raised by SAHM and  for many years believed this was the very best option) I talked to many  other mothers about their experiences, my own mom, my sister which is a psychologist specializing in children, visited day care centers, read several books and talked at lenght to our pediatritian.

I wanted to  ensure to make the very best decisions for Josemaria.

One of the best insights came from my mom.  She told me that in the past children were raised by a group, actually in a large family where not only the mom was the one there with him, that babies thrived in a community of love and  the more we were able to give him a stucture of love and several stable people giving him love he would be all right.

In the end  after many talks between DH and I,  I switched jobs to a company that has great family policies  and flexible schedules ( it even has maternal leave for adoption for 4 to 5 months with full pay), my DH moved his office hours, we decided on nanny care and spent weeks preparing everything for my return.

 We even considered selling our appartment and moving closer to our offices which might be an option in the future.

 Our priority was and always will be Josemaria and we have been blessed with being able to make these decisions since I know many people that need two jobs and do not have these options...

My DH or me are there when he wakes up (around 7 a.m) most of the time fully dressed to be 100%  with him , then he dresses him, gives him breakfast and spends a couple of hours playing and dancing with him (yes, he dances around with him singing to him traditional Mexican childrens songs) and then leaves for work at 9:30 a.m. I leave early, but get to spend some time with him also.   We decided this so I could arrive early from work and my DH would be able to spend some quality time with his son.

I arrive around 5 pm or before and spend the next 2 hours with him fully. I do not do anything else,  but play with him, hug  and kiss him like crazy, bathe him and give him dinner.  Then I sing to him (very badly) or read to him until he falls asleep. I always speak with his nanny in depth about his day and together we decide next days activities when he is not having his daily naps (he sleeps 12 hours each night and has one or 2 naps a day, sleeping some 2 hours on average). I call once or twice a day to check on him.

One day a week I leave at 3 p.m and go with Josemaria to a mom and baby class which we both love.

Weekends we are fully dedicated to him and our families.

Once I get the hang from my job the idea is to arrive home earlier and also to work from home a couple of days a week.

We decided daycare was not for us,  nor Josemaria at this time and we are inmensely blessed to have an amazing woman taking care of him for the day until I arrive.   She and him have fallen in love completly, I loved the way I saw she was raising her son, she has taken care of several babies  and I spent 5 months at home watching her and Josemaria interact.   She truly loves him and Josemaria her.

I think  we have tried to  make the most of a  non  perfect  situation,

Yet some women have judged me without knowing anything about us  and why we have made the decision of me to return to work after 5 months of maternity leave. Comments about being too career driven, having not clear priorities,  the damage to my baby, etc. 

Comments about one perfect way to raise a child.  

One in specific made my blood boil yesterday and I need to write this post to make sense of it.

 She is a contractor working for my department at my new company.  She is a mother of a 15 year old girl and a 12 year old boy.

I had a meeting with her to understand her role in out team, since I will be working closely with her.

During this meeting yesterday she spent 30 minutes telling me she had chosen to be a contractor since it was the best way to be a mother.   She worked the hours she wanted and moved her hours around (which is not completly true)

She told me that she worked  full time while her first child  was young and that  she always regreted working,  lost tons of opportunities to be with her,  then had an emotional breakdown when she was expecting the second. She right then decided to leave work and dedicate herself to her family until they were older.

She then  told me that at the beginning they did not have a lot of money so she had to work, yet when she had the option she quit.   .  She does not know that I need to work and she kept mentioning  that she would never understand why a woman with my economic level would chose to work (if she only knew)

 She said she would never ever have a corporate job (clearly refering to mine) and that actually my company had offered her one a couple of years ago and she had said no (also in clear reference to me).  

She then spent 10 minutes telling me to enjoy my son, not to waste my time in other things, with him being so small, etc.  In a few words  not  to waste my time working.

I had to stop her then and ask her why she was telling me all of this and she told me it was only to make me understand why she was a contractor and that she would not be available for me to work all the time (which I never ever expected).

 That she , not like me,  had her priorities straight (almost exact words)

I was made feel like a complete selfish and bad mother by another mother .  I almost cried after the meeting and had a deep sadness all afternnoon doubting my decision to work (I later spoke with my boss about her and it became clear there were other reasons behind her words) . 

Yet this is not the first time since this has happened with other mothers in the last weeks , but this was the worst one.

I am writing this since I need an outlet!!!!!!!!!

Why cannot we understand that as mothers we are making our very best to be good ones? 

We should support each other, not attack other mothers making some hard choices!!! 

 We do not know the exact circumstances of each one of us and we should not make assumptions .  

If we decide to homeschool, send our children to parochial or public school, work from home, stay at home and be a housewife, have a full time, part time job ,  etc and our children are thriving and we have their best interest at heart who are we to judge?

If we at heart have the well being of our children and make them our priority we are being good mothers.

When mothers do not really care about the children,  but many other things such a money, power, etc,  then the priorities  are clearly not where  they should be.  

Our mothering decisions should depend on the individual circumstances of the child, the marriage  and each woman.

For example my mom was a stay at home mother.  All her life.  When I a year and a half she decided to send me to kindergarten  for several  hours a day since she was seeing that I needed it,.  But with my sister she waited until she was 3. Each child has individual needs.

Each day I see Josemaria thriving, he is reaching each milestone on time or even before, he smiles all the time, has a very good schedule, has gotten sick only once,  etc. A  normal, happy,   healthy child. by all standards who has complelty bonded with his parents.

If I saw that he was afraid, not thriving, had doubts about the care I would have made a completly different decision.  Maybe tried an at home business,  dipped deep into our savings, sold our car,  I do not know.

Then comes the economic circumstances.

Some women have the  choice not to work, but not all of us have this option.

Then comes each woman and her personality. For example I am not made to be a full time  homemaker.   I need to be outside, to dedicate myself to many other things at once.    I love being at home and cooking and having a  beautiful home, but after a few days I need to do other things.

On the other hand    I have a friend who spends her days happy at home, almost never going out, fully dedicating herself to her year and a half daughter and her house,  with no interest in  seeing other adults in days,  and she and her baby are very,  very  happy.  

Please if you see a mother doing things differently from you, do not judge, nor make her feel bad about her choices (unless she is doing something clearly bad to her children)  but help her be the best mother she can be whatever her circumstances might be. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back to TTC? decision time

I will be returning to work after 5 months of maternity leave and starting  a new job early next week  after quiting my former job where I have been for over 12 years, almost 13, last week.   Major,  major changes. 

 I will blog later about my feelings on all of this.  (I still need to reflect on this as my heart goes from being happy about the new opportunities to being extremely sad about not being 24/7 around Josemaria.  )

All of this has put me in a reflective mood for the last few weeks.

I have been cleaning all my papers, magazines and books. Cleaning pantries and closets and I also died my hair darker.

In me changes to hairstyle and putting external order mirror internal changes.

One of the things I have been reflecting a lot is if we should aggresively  TTC again, even if I have a major fear of being pregnant again  and we have the option to adopt again.  

I know it sounds contradictory, but its where I am right now and  I know that there are tons of people that do not even have the option to adopt once and not even twice.   

But given the option would you do the same? Try again TTC with all your might?

This year I turn 41. I have been on the TTC wagon for over 4 years.  It seems we have a complete diagnosis in year 3  and only  a few months after my  operation in Omaha I got pregnant.   

In my case I needed a lot of factors to converge to become pregnant so for me its  not a question of just taking my Napro medicines. My case needed total focus and this is the question.  

Do I give it another chance with all my might? We will always be open to life, but will I dedicate tons of efforts to this? Should I ?

I became pregnant when I was happiest, most relaxed, doing a perfect diet , tons of supplements, monthly montoring and doing both Napro and alternative therapies.   A part time job.

I really believe my lack of stress, acupuncture and diet were crucial together with Napro. Then I lost the baby with major complications and I lost my faith in my own body and also somewhere deep within myself  of Napro.

All the tests we did after losing the baby show that I do not have recurrent loss risks (as far as we tested) . I went crazy with testing just to make sure in case I would get pregnant again that I did not have any risk factors.

All the doctors (Dr. H, my local gynecologist and a very renowned hematologist) say that they think the baby had some issues from the beginning and nature took its course.   I guess I need to trust that I can maintain a pregnancy (in case it happens again which I cannot be sure of )

After we lost the baby I did not want to try again and I had so many health issues in December of 2010 that I even avoided.

Then Dr, H said in February of 2011 that we could try again and we tried, but with fear in my heart and also half heatedly due to our coming adoption.

So from February 2010 to August 2011 we tried using only Napro protocols with no pregnancies.  

We used days of fertility for all these months so I am convinced that I need other things in addition to Napro to be pregnant.    I even had a conf call with Dr. H where he prescribed Clomid to make my ovulation "better). This affected my CM a lot , but I did not have any other side effects and each month I ovulated.

I was on Clomid for 6 months and no pregnancy.  Ovulation yes, but no pregnancy.

Once we adopted I have been terrible at charting, have not done cycle reviews in as many months,  we only used a few days of fertility here and there and I stoped taking HCG and Clomid for the last 3 months. 

My heart was really on being a mother and I am sure I needed a break.  

The coming of Josemaria made my heart complete.

I continued to be Co.rtef, T3 and some vitamins since I know they are great for my health.

So here we are.   I basically stoped TTC treatments for the last months and felt such a relief, yet in my heart each cycle is the question of what I want to do next. 

Due to my age I do not have a lot of time to make a decision.

We are parents of an amazing little boy.  I should be content, yet I would love to be a mother again and again and again.  I know its a normal desire and does not say in the least that Josemaria is not loved with all our hearts. 

 All points towards that we  will be able to adopt again.  The hard work of getting into the adoption agency and the  thousand name waiting list is over and we just need to start the paper work again and take some courses and start the  placement wait again.  I will of course not be easy, but there is this option for us in Me. xico.

We can start proceedings once Josemaría turns 1 (April 21st) and wait probably a year and some months for a placement.  The law says we can adopt again when he turns 2 so we can probably be parents once again in 2013.   We could also adopt a 3rd baby.   Due to our ages my DH is less than sure about this, but my heart is calling me towards this.  That would need to happen in 2015 or later.

I will be 44 or more by then.

Even if we have the option to adopt again  something in my heart says that I will regret not TTC again  after all that we have been through to get a diagnosis.

I do not want to sound selfish or that I want all, but will I have regrets later not giving it another chance with all my might?

I know I could not love any biological baby more than I love Josemaria.  He is my son.   The one God intended for me. 

So where does this questioning come from? Is adoption not enough? Yes of course , its the most amazing blessing. 

Yet there is this calling within me to try again to become pregnant while on the adoption journey and see where God leads us.

My DH wants to give TTC another go, but the decision is really up to me. 

These are the scenarios I see right now in order of time and "aggressiveness" and where I will need to make a decision soon:

A) Only use my normal medicines that I need to function and use the days of fertility? I think HCG will be part of this as my PMS increased a lot.   This is for me being open to life like we will be always.

B) Use more aggressive medicines such as Clomid but now with monitoring? This is the start of TTC with cycle reviews and some blood draws.

C) All of this in addition to resuming  my "healthy TTC lifestyle" using functional medicine for supplements and diet (its a type of medicine that focuses on the whole person and my experience has been amazing), go back to acupuncture and my special diet with no  milk and no gluten? Exactly like I did when I got pregnant. I even have my fertility diary and know exactly all that I was doing.

D) Consult a local doctor here in addition to Napro and all above  so we can do extra monitoring with U/S blood and some of his own protocols.  He has helped several older women.

E) All of this in addition to a hysteroscopyy to check my uterus after my 2 D&C´s which has been recommended  by several doctors.

What would you do? What would God want?  What would lessen any regrets later?