So, I know I don’t have many readers….

If you happen upon this today I have on my heart one of my “IRL” mommy-blogger friends, named Molly (who incidentally sings like an angel).    She gave birth to her latest sweetheart on Valentine’s Day and is terribly ill with a case of pyelonephritis, which can be dangerous considering her sweet little one was born so recently.       If you have a moment please pray for her, she has three littles all under 3, so as you can imagine, she’s pretty busy!    If you feel so inclined, check out her blog too.   She is incredibly funny and real!     If you see this, feel better Molly!

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Okay, the assignment portion of the blog is done 🙂  I got an A in the class, so, it’s all good. So now I don’t necessarily have to relate everything back to an article.

 

Sooo…  You know who’s blog that I find a lot of negative stuff on the internet about? The Pioneer women.   Here’s my secret though.  I love her.   Her goofy humor, her alien hand, her funny tall amazon awkward kids, the basset hounds, kittenkitten, Pookie, all these horse ear pics.  I love it.     I realize that no human being could do all the stuff she does, and she probably has a staff, and she isn’t actually keeping it “real” but still, her style makes me laugh, and I can relate to some of her awkwardness, but I think she’s classically beautiful, and I feel sort of bad when she calls HER fat.. and look at me.    ugh.   I’ve tried a few recipes, but usually her food is a little spicy for me………but we really love the Marlboro Man Sandwich… although I do not use butter or hot sauce……….. usually Au jus and charbroil the cube steak then cut it in strips, but, anyway, it’s similar and where my version evolved from so I’ll give credit.

Is being a mom all its cracked up to be?

Facebook Memes are so plentiful, I know I’ve seen at least 500 different ones…. but then you see this:

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Is Mothering really that great?   It seems like truly, some women once they have children, really don’t enjoy it.    Then you see works like this, by a single hard-working woman that wants to give her kids to best she can, Straight in One Drip at a time writes, : ““This is what always gets done, because it means a lot to me: The kids wear clean, unwrinkled clothes, and their hair is always clean and styled.  We eat really good breakfasts and dinners, and we are never out of Swiss chocolate, English Breakfast tea, or Vermont maple syrup.  The sink is never full of dishes, and all trash is taken out of the van when children exit” (51)

 

But then there are “women” and I put that in caps because my loathe of her is hard to convey, :

My children cause me the most exquisite suffering of which I have any experience.  It is the suffering of ambivalence: the murderous alternation between bitter resentment and raw-edges nerves, and blissful gratification and tenderness.   Sometimes I seem to myself, in my feelings toward these tiny guiltless beings, a monster of selfishness and intolerance.  Their voices wear away at my nerves, their constant needs, above all their need for simplicity and patience, fill me with despair at my own failures, despair too at my fate, which i s to serve a function for which I was not fitted.   And I am weak sometimes from held-in rage.   There are times when I feel only death will free us from one another, when I envy the barren woman who was the luxury of her regrets but lives a life of privacy and freedom (21).

Were she not already dead I would lambast her, how dare she use my name without my permission, and in such a callous horrible way.  You see, my name is barren, whom she has envy for.   I felt white-hot rage, raw, real when I read this.   Who the hell does she think she is?    She didn’t deserve her children, the hell part of it all is that she later allowed her grown Children to read this garbage.  How would you feel if you read that your mother would find death to be pleasurable to part that bond?     When I Googled her name I saw these blog posts mourning her death.    My thoughts?  GOOD RIDDANCE!    I will happily think about Susan Straight, who iced cupcakes in the back of her van for a party for her daughter’s school.

 

 

The Dark Side of blogging: Dooce

I have never cared for Dooce (Heather Armstrong), and apparently I’m not the only one, Google I hate Dooce and see what comes up!   Anyway, she and her hubby built her blogging empire from the ground up.   Her blog got her fired from her job.    In the Ny Times:

The Armstrongs started small at the end of 2004, with Google ads (the kind that appear on registered sites and pay anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars, depending on Web traffic). Before long they had contracted with an agency that actively sought display advertisers, making Dooce the first personal Web site to accept significant advertising. When monthly income from the blog exceeded Jon’s paycheck for the same period, he quit his job to manage the business.

Armstrong’s readers responded as she’d feared. “They screamed, ‘Who do you think you are?’ ” she remembers. “ ‘What made you important enough to make money on your Web site?’ ”

But obviously the success, the money the management the togetherness didn’t work, Dooce recently filed for divorce, and after discussing the intimate details of her life that people probably really could have lived without hearing she…………………..asked for PRIVACY!?!? What???     I think blogging can definitely be a negative influence on people’s life.

Biggest Mommy Blog Scandals Part 2: Legal Woes

At one point, MckMama was at one time one of the most popular mommy blogs out there.     Frankly, she wasn’t the best mother.   Her blog was always showing her perfect kids, in fact, in her original naming of the blog It was “My Charming Kids”  Then for “privacy” she started giving her children code names (not unusual) but what was unusual was that she called them by McDonald’s items.  Big Mac, Mcknugget (Nuggie), Small Fry, Stellan, and McFlurry.   Stellan was different.. why you ask?  It was her claim to fame.  Her child was experiencing severe heart conditions in-utero. Super Ventricular Tachycardia (SVT).  A request for prayer for her son soon lead to a cult following, with women attacking each other online, contacting bosses, and simply trying to destroy lives.   She has more than one blog set up simply for hate groups.  Honestly, my personal opinion is Jennifer loved the attention, she rose to fame quickly, in an interview she was evasive when asked how much money she was making,  she said simply “alot, alot of money”.   This line has earned her scorn all around the blogosphere.   How was she making this money?   Ads.  She was receiving thousands of hits per day, often when Stellan was in critical condition her website would CRASH from all the hits.  She bad parenting decisions: pictures of her son getting CPR when he coded, and in my opinion she bated her readers.     She tweeted after a particularly harrowing experiencing episode “We just said goodbye to Stellan”  When everyone was sure he was dead, she FINALLY came back to say he was ok.  I highly recommend viewing this link, as MckMama still has a bit of clout, I am not comfortable reposting some of the things she said/did so I will direct you here: MckMama.   So, being a crummy mother (She left this same child alone only a few days out of the hospital and went on vacation to California (she lived in MN) isn’t necessarily a crime, but stealing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own IS a crime.  High end companies quickly wanted nothing to do with her, and people made efforts to distance themselves.    During all this time Mckmama touted living debt free, claimed to be paying her bills, meanwhile house after house was in foreclosure, she LIED to the bankruptcy court and was nearly prosecuted and she has been ordered to pay back the nearly three quarters of a MILLION dollars she owes.   She tried to hide many of these incidents, just like she hid the instance of her husband being arrested for domestic violence against her while still pregnant with Stellan who was gravely ill in the womb.     She painted a rosy picture of her mother-in-law moving in to help with the children, to cover the fact that the court wouldn’t allow her and her husband together alone until he completed anger management and probation.    Meanwhile she was still professing her religious, holy-rolling-granola lifestyle.   Google it if you doubt it “Mckmama fraud” “Mckmama scam” There will be more posts and information than you can read in a month.      This is the downside to blogging, people putting the glory of it ahead of what the blog originally was about, YOUR CHILDREN!

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Where I lose-it Stella Part 3

Aimee and especially Mishi shared some of the hardest words I’ve ever read, and I can’t even imagine the pain she must have been feeling herself.  You might wonder, why am I still writing about Stella?   I was that captivated, Mishi has a gift with words like no-one else I’ve read, not only did her blog chronicle Stella, but they chronicle her life too, the complex interactions that must go on as family members that are stuck in hellish pattern that would break the spirit of even the strongest person.   Also, I think this posting, this retelling is cathartic, and though I feel ashamed (because I keep thinking how badly Stella’s family is hurting) I am grieving.  This is my way of coming to terms with how a beautiful, wild, red-haired tot with chic-let teeth could be cruelly robbed of her faculties one by one, until she died.

Aimee and Mishi thought they had it all figured out, and as we finished up the second part in the Stellathon, we saw the birth of Stella’s brother that she named herself.  Despite predictions that she surely wouldn’t be alive for his birth. She lived. The girl who lives! (if only she had been Harry Potter).

I found Mishi’s musings interesting as she described the life her and Aimee had envisioned in their heads:

From the time Aimee and I talked about having children, we always said we wanted two.  Two felt manageable, two felt familiar (Aimee had one sister and I only had one sister until I was 16 and my brother was born), two felt perfect.  We always assumed we’d have two boys.  I’m not sure why, but that’s what we always talked about.  While I was pregnant with Stella, we decided our sons names would be Evan and Finn or Evan and Owen.  We didn’t find out the sex of our baby, so when Stella was born— a perfect package of red-headed, screaming, fury— and most definitely girl, we were a bit shocked.  But we adjusted and were absolutely tickled with our red-headed imp.  Then, when Aimee got pregnant just under two years later, we thought our dreams and our family were complete. 

Oh but the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men.   Perhaps fate wasn’t as cruel as they thought.

So, one month after Sam was born, Aimee and I decided to try to do an intrauterine insemination one time with the same donor sperm as we used for Stella and Sam.  It was a crazy time in our lives.  Stella was declining rapidly in the fall, Aimee was completely incapacitated due to her pelvic injury, we were living off of donation money, had volunteers sleeping on a mattress in our living room to help with Sam, and were eating off of the generosity of friends almost every night.  We felt like we needed something happy to distract us from the chaos and stress of our everyday lives.  We weren’t in a place where we could seriously think about having another child, we just needed something to look forward to, something positive to focus on.  We decided to leave it up to the universe.  If we were meant to have another child— this child— it would be, and if not, not.  

 Stella was going to be a big sister— again!   No one believed it would be possible that little Stella would be alive for the birth of the third child in the Bruner-Methven houshold.  As I read I was secretly thrilled, and terrified for her.  How does one face a child that requires round the clock care? An infant, and… another infant on the way??  Frankly I thought Mishi was a total bad-ass.     Brave. Strong. Beautiful. Amazing.

As you may have already gathered, the Bruner-Methven clan isn’t exactly into “typical”.   I was immediately struck by the thought of this blog after I read today the Lesbians Raising Son article assigned.    I had written a bit about the woman-wound, the feminist idea that women suffered at the hands of men in there life, so why/how/who would want to have a tiny dictator in their home?  Here’s the essay:

In my opinion Well’s woman-wound relates directly to the fact that many of the hurts women experience in their processes of coming out or negative attention has come from men.  With the birth of a male child comes the “intrusion” of what could be a dominant alpha heterosexual male, something most lesbian women have most likely spent a lifetime escaping, and suddenly, you now have a living breathing human being that belongs to that sex.   Wells says, “The road to lesbian parenting has been long and hard.  Many of us have come through tremendous anger at the male world to be able to embrace our sons with unconditional love (9).

Lesbian couples are forced to go against the grain of the nuclear patriarchal family dyad.   These couples have struggled vehemently to define themselves in a world that is still skeptical and unaccepting, dominated by men.   Are they then required to raise a male child up in such a way that he becomes part of the next generation of male leaders?  Isn’t that a bit like allowing a fox into a hen house, having a male in the home that society will groom to be a typical male patriarch?

It is my opinion that it is a privilege to raise a son for lesbian parents, and society is better for it.  Lesbian women know firsthand how harmful the “man’s man” can be.   With this knowledge they can go in as parents and raise a new generation of caring and respectful men.

 

 

According to Wells, perhaps this raising of sons is not just selfish in trying to prevent further perpetuation of abuse or opression of women, but in fact, benefits the child themselves, “We also teach our sons a level of self-sufficiency and nurturance that is not found in patriarchal families.  Our sons may cook, do laundry, clean, and knit.  While this may seem to be a technique to ensure that they don’t tie another generation of women to domestic servitude, it is is also because of the high regard in which the lesbian community holds self-sufficiency.  And is it not a gift to our sons to equip them to take care of themselves for the rest of their lives?” (11).

I wanted to address a little of what I alluded to earlier, about having stumbled upon Stella’s journey from a conservative christian blogger, and this article directly addresses some of the perhaps unfair criticisms that I share about the right wing blogging sector. ”

I wanted to address a little of what I alluded to earlier, about having stumbled upon Stella’s journey from a conservative christian blogger, and this article directly addresses some of the perhaps unfair criticisms that I share about the right wing blogging sector. “The right wing reacts to lesbian mothers with a vengeance for several reasons: w procreate without intercourse, we raise sons without men in the house; and we teach boys not to oppress women, to feel, and to live free of gender restrictions and homophobia.  We are not raising the next generation of patriarchs, and the right wing is coming at us with the full fource of its power.   The convervatives have conceded that queers may congregate, drink, dance, and work like dogs without the benefit of medical coverage for our spouses, but they are marshaling all their resources to stop us from going to the next level and creating long-lasting unions.with children as our focal point  (13-14). 

Stella’s family seems comfortable, Mishi’s sister Heather, is straight, but Aimee’s sister is also a lesbian.  Mishi has a strong influence from her dad and family.  I think perhaps this may have lead to them planning on sons, they are so comfortable in their identity.  Stella’s Cousin Gracie appears with her two moms, one of which is Aimee’s sister.

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In which I lose it- Stella Part 2

There were a few things in Part 1 about Stella’s family that I didn’t reveal.   Mishi carried Stella.  Shortly before Stella was diagnosed, Aimee was pregnant.  Like many Lesbian couples that decide to start a family, the used a sperm donor.  Aimee used the same sperm donor Mishi used.     For a little background here’s part of a lecture by Carrie Levesque, UNCG:

When some lesbians learn of these costs, they often begin to consider other routes to motherhood, especially since they are less likely to be reimbursed by their health insurance for infertility treatments (since they are often not infertile- they just lack access to sperm!). 

The increase in the use of reproductive and conceptive technologies also impacts the cultural climate in which lesbians seek to become parents. By dissociating issues relating to fertility and the family from sexual intercourse and moving them to a lab or doctor’s office, conceptive technologies and surrogacy practices have shattered the historical unity between being genetically, gestationally and socially a mother.  Conceptive technologies have changed the very definitions and understanding of motherhood and of family relationships. Image

You may recall from part 1 I mentioned Stella was planned and saved for, you see, Lesbian moms don’t end up with a surprise plus sign on a pregnancy test.  By the very nature of it, motherhood for lesbians (gays as well, but I am focusing on women) is INTENTIONAL. 

Morega elaborates on the delicate dance that results in a child for a lesbian mom, In her chapter titled, “Lesbians don’t make babies with our lovers”

 We make babies with strangers in one-night stands or on the doctor’s insemination table, with friends I a friendly f**k or a loveless mason jar, with enemies who at the time were husbands or boyfriends, or with ex-husbands whom our children call papi and whom we may still consider family.  We cannot make babies with one another.  Our blood doesn’t mix into the creation of a third entity with an equal split of DNA.  Sure we can co-adopt, we can co-parent, we can be comrades, but mami and papi we ain’t (15).  

Hopes and dreams are not unique to one group, for Lesbian moms they too imagine their children.  Say names out loud try and picture what the sweet little face may look like.   Just like every other mom.     Even after Mishi and Aimee birthed 1 child each, the fact remained, would they have more children?   Mishi struggled with guilt.  Apparently mommy guilt is a special, paralyzing type. 

Fear:  I am afraid to get pregnant again in case it’s my fault

Aimee and I already talked about how we want to try to have another baby someday.  I want to be able to get pregnant again and feel the miracle of having another being growing inside of me, but I’m afraid because I feel like it’s my fault Stella has this horrible cancer.  It’s my body that created her, my DNA that screwed up and made these cells grow out of control, creating this tumour that’s swallowing my daughter up.  I’m scared that if I have another baby something bad might happen to it too. 

Mishi addresses the fact that people automatically shift their mind to “what are you going to do?” in regards to their new baby boy, carried by Aimee, and named Sam by his beautiful sister because she so-loved the story-book series of Stella & Sam, will he be an only child?

Even if not everyone vocalizes it, I know people want to know if Aimee and I plan on having another child.  There is an overall feeling that having another baby will somehow help us heal from losing Stella, that it will “replace” her in some way.  But the truth is, we could have 15 children, children who look just like Stella and act just like her, and they still wouldn’t be Stella.  You can’t replace a child that you lost and you can’t cancel out the agonizing grief of the death of one child with the birth of another.  No one is more aware of this than us. 

I found some irony in this after reviewing some of the feminist points of view in American Motherhood, I wrote a short Essay in response to an excerpt written by lesbian mom Cherrie Moraga’s called Waiting in the Wings.

I’ll repost it here:

I think most Lesbians go through a period of establishing their identity, some chose the more “Butch” approach, and others are so-called lipstick lesbians, and of course there are probably many more closeted or questioning women out there. Regardless of how they identify themselves, I think the main thing is they are trying to establish their sexuality in relation to their identity as a person, without really considering what does a lesbian mean to their gender. 

Moraga says, “As a child and a tomboy, I never fantasized about having kids. No more than most little boys do, dreaming about a brood of five sons—enough to make up a basketball team (19). So obviously she is expressing her inner self as a male personality. She further described her prospects of being a mother, “I simply assumed that since I would never be married to a man, I would never have children (19)” 

Then she drops the bombshell, “This may sound strange, a statement of the blatantly obvious, but buried deep inside me regardless of the empirical evidence to the contrary, I had maintained the rigid conviction that lesbians (that is, those of us on the more side of the spectrum) weren’t really women. We were women-lovers, a kind of third sex, and most definitely not men” (20). In establishing herself as a lesbian Moraga lost her focus and realization that despite her sexual orientation that she was still physically, biologically, genetically ,she was a woman, fully as capable of birthing a child as her obviously revered “real women”. 

It was after Moraga described the pain and loss of a child that one of these “real women” ripped from her arms, because according to the courts, according to a society, she had no ties to this child, nothing to make Joel hers. In her selfless love of this child, her own heart breaking, she must let him go. But in these moments that she reconciles in her mind the love for the child, she then discovers she is woman enough, to be a mother to a child of her own.  The painful parting brought her to a realization that despite her desires, despite what anyone else said, she was worthy of this gift of being a woman, worthy of birthing a child of her own.  Joel helped her become a woman, woman-enough to become one of what is said is the very best part of being woman, being the woman called simply, “mom”.

Morega isn’t safe, simply because a child is yours legally doesn’t mean you can keep it.  Bad things happen in this world.   Children get cancer, hit by cars, die in fiery crashes, and in third world countries: Beat to death, starved to death, orphaned.   It really is too horrible to think about , but the fact remains: nothing alive is truly yours, like Morega’s desire for mothering, death too can be “Waiting in the wings’.

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Kids L-R Stella’s cousin Javier, and her baby brother, who they doubted she would live to see, Sam.

Biggest Mommy Blog Scandals Part 1: Legal Woes

This was part of a lecture for my BLS American Motherhood class:

Well, 30 years later, with mothers’ entrance into the blogosphere, these domestic cats have certainly been let out of the bag in a huge and complex way. The web is flooded with blogs where mothers and fathers capture all the joys and frustrations of parenthood, and though it may be too early to tell, these honest looks at parenthood have not appeared to have damaged children or undermined marriages. In fact, if the literature on ‘mommy blogs’ is to be believed, this new abundant access to no-holds-barred accounts of parenting and ready advice from one’s peers has mainly provided a positive source of support for struggling parents and reassurance that even if we don’t all live up to the traditional ideals, our shortcomings will not permanently scar our children or make of them maladjusted serial killers. Though the corporate media will continue to sensationalize stories of ‘mommy wars’ and women’s judgment of one another, the overwhelming message of the blogging community seems to be that ‘we are all in this together.’

It’s no secret that I’m a mommy blog addict.  I’ve read them for years.   I watched the rise and fall of the phenom blogger known simply as MckMama (Jennifer McKinney) and veteran mommy-blog readers probably remember the Little One April Rose scam and even worse the Munchausen’s by proxy case involving a real live child at The McDonald Five.  That brings me to the purpose of this blog entry:  Biggest Mommy Blog Scandals:  Legal Woes.    Unfortunately, since Professor Levesque wrote this piece, it appears that mommy blogging IS damaging children and ruining marriages.   I’ll tell you about some of the

scandals that rocked Mommy Blog Land.

The most egregious offender is that of The McDonald Five mother Emily McDonald was arrested for smearing the child’s IV with feces, as well as putting it into a feeding tube. Her problem started innocently enough when she had premature children, and reached out into the online preemie community, where she found support. Unfortunately she became addicted to the attention and sympathy especially reserved for those special women among us that nurture their sick (sometimes dying) children as only a loving mother can. Here’s where it gets tricky, would this mother have had such a support system without the blogosphere?   Had we rapt readers not have been hanging on to every post, begging for updates on sweet little Dakota, and sending well-wishes that included gifts, cards, and simply our time would she have continued to abuse this child? There is no way to know, and frankly, I wouldn’t want to know because I certainly don’t want to shoulder that guilt.  She is serving a 20 year sentence in the Texas penal sytem.  Reports about Dakota have been sparse in the mommy blog world, but it was mentioned in passing (and I couldn’t find the link) that she was reportedly doing extremely well now that her mother can no longer inflict harm.

Next there is the infamous April Rose scam.   A young woman, who only identifies herself on the blog as “B” weaves quite the tale.  The story is not atypical, she presents as a single unwed young woman that finds herself pregnant, but because of her deeply held Christian Convictions she decides to have the child.  Here’s what’s not so typical, she claims the child suffers from a rare genetic anomaly (Trisomy 13) and brain defect (Holoprosencephaly) that is incompatible with life, but again, because of her faith she goes against the medical establishment insistence that she should abort the child, and decides that as long as the child will live (whether it dies naturally in utero) or lives the few hours/minutes after delivery.

Now to attest to the power that is the internet community and the clout of mommy blogging, this story made it to Angie Smith, author of a blog called Bring the Rain as well as several books and wife to Todd, part of the famous Christian band Selah.   Angie has been very forthcoming in her own blog about the real loss of their fourth child, Audrey Caroline, who Angie DID carry to term that passed shortly after birth.     Angie was asking for support and prayers for this young mother who was facing all alone something that had so recently brought Angie’s own family to its knees.

Reaction to the treachery was swift, with many women that lost infants themselves expressing outrage.  In fact, every day “small-time” bloggers like Mary at Every Day Endeavors reacted, “So many people were deceived. I didn’t get scammed financially but I definitely have lost a lot of TIME reading the blog, checking for updates and even emailing “B” a couple times (to which she replied). So it’s all so sad how far people will go for selfish gain.So that’s the latest gossip going around bloggy land.  It’s too bad because B was a good writer and spoke on many truths.”

In  the photo you can see, that even four years later “April Rose Scam” on Google brings up a variety of information and identifies Rebecca “Beccah” Beushausen.  It appears that no charges were filed against her as they were unable to substantiate the claims about her obtaining money fraudulently.   The photo below is of the doll that she tried to pass off as her dead baby.

April Rose Scamar

 

Where I lose it. Stella Part 1

I have sobbed over this blog, not just cried, or tears to my eyes, but an UGLY, sobs that shake your stomach and make you gasp for air sobbing and it’s not even my child, in fact, I don’t even “know” these people.  A link had been sent from a friend of a friend.    A beautiful little girl named Stella Joy Bruner-Methven had been diagnosed with a rare, fatal, life shattering form of brain cancer Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).    As you may or may not know, lots of mommy blogs are filled with fundamentalist type Christians… the subject of many of their days is chick-fil-a (Christian owned and based), church,  Sunday School, homeschooling using Christian curriculum etc.    One of these bloggers (Who I’m not going to give away just yet because that is the subject of another post) posted a urgent request to pray for Stella’s moms.. Moms?? I was immediately intrigued, frankly I’ve always found LBGT an interesting study, and am not homophobic in the least, but usually these sorts of blogs although not outright in their condemnation aren’t exactly “gay-friendly” if you will.    However, I was surprised to see that one of the top Mom bloggers, smack dab in Arkansas was beseeching prayers for the prettiest little girl you’ll ever see and her moms.  So, of course, I went to read the blog see what was there, go over it.   I read the entire thing in one sitting, 3+ hours.     I daily had to check on Stella’s progress, I posted lyrics to songs, quotes, inspirational things in the comments, but mostly I cried, fat, hot, ugly, red-faced tears.   How can it be that parents that rape, molest, beat, or harm their children get to keep their babies, but two of the best moms had to give their planned-for, saved-for beloved child.        They decided to live fully, they took off work, family took leave, friends (a nurse) moved in to help care for Stella as she deteriorated.      They had birthday parties (countless), a make-a-wish trip to Sesame Street Land in Pennsylvania, Stella’s grandfather brought her chocolate timbits (doughnut holes for us not in Canada ) from Tim Hortons restaurant, she ate ice-cream for breakfast.    Stella’s moms Aimee & Mishi, got their “make-a-wish” too, they got to meet Ellen  DeGeneres I am sure their real make-a-wish was for Stella to live, to be well. Then something curious happened…………Stella lived.    (for those of us that read about Stella we weren’t surprised), Stella did everything on her OWN terms, she always had.    Readers logged in every day, forums were created so that when Mishi was exhausted she could type a quick note to let everyone know that yes Stella was still living and provide us with an update.  Usually when you hear the term childhood cancer, little bald heads come to mind.   However, chemo has been determined as completely ineffective in DIPG, the ONLY treatment available is radiation.   Stella’s mom made a painful, selfless decision (Which they were criticized for).  No Treatment.  The radiation would only add a short amount of time (if any) but the trade-off would be hospital visits, sedation, time wasted in a hospital that they could be spending with their precious baby girl. 

I think of the sacrifices Stella’s moms, her whole family made, as Stella clung, and we don’t realize the heart of a mother, how far she will go to protect a Beloved child.    So in the literary sense I think of the work done by Toni Morrison, when a young slave mother, sexually assaulted, beaten, tortured, is faced with her slave-masters coming back, not just for her, but her children.    The decision she makes is unfathomable, In Beloved, Morrison describes how this mother protects her baby, out of desperation:

Inside, two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger woman holding a blood-soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels in the other. She did not look at them; she simply swung the baby toward the wall planks, missed and tried to connect a second time, when out of nowheremin the ticking time the men spent staring at what there was to stare the old nigger boy, still mewing, ran through the door behind them and snatched
the baby from the arch of its mother’s swing. Right off it was clear, to schoolteacher especially, that there was nothing there to claim. The three (now four–because she’d had the one coming when she cut) pickaninnies they had hoped were alive and well enough to take
 back to Kentucky, take back and raise properly to do the work Sweet Homedesperately needed, were not. Two were lying open-eyed in sawdust; a third pumped blood down the dress of the main one–the woman schoolteacher bragged about, the one he said made
 fine ink, damn good soup, pressed his collars the way he liked besides having at least ten breeding years left. But now she’d gone wild, due to the mishandling of the nephew who’d overbeat her and made her cut and run. Schoolteacher had chastised that nephew, telling him to think–just think–what ould his own horse do if you beat it beyond the point of education. OrChipper, or Samson. Suppose you beat the hounds past that point thataway. Never again could you trust them in the woods or anywhere else. (175).
 
 

 

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L-R Mishi, Stella, & Aimee

So, what’s this all about?

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Many women complain of being disconnected from the world when they have children, especially when they are stay-at-home moms.  It is somewhat inevitable that once you cross over into mommy-hood that your circle of friends will change because, face it, those that are childless really don’t give a crap that Marlee went to the potty all by herself today!   So what fills this void other than play dates at restaurants that offer a toy with the meal?  There is of course Facebook, but when you have more to say than what Mark Zuckerberg allots you as a “Status”, what’s a mom to do?  Start a blog of course! What does that have to do with me? Why does this blog exist?   Well… this isn’t all that exciting but it’s the truth: It is an assignment for my Bachelor of Liberal Studies class American Motherhood.    I hope this doesn’t scare you off as I hope the blog may be interesting to others.

Some of the types of issues I hope to cover (no promises that I’ll get around to all of them)

  • Is there a dark side to mothering and even more specifically, to the mommy blog?
  • Mothers as Killers: Are works like Beloved by Toni Morrison deflecting blame from women who kill?
  • Sexuality and Mothering
  • Why Michelle Obama is inspirational to the future generation of mothers
  • Southern Women Bloggers, do they lend credibility to the ignorant “hillbilly” stereotypes?
  • Classical Literature by Virginia Woolf on the role of mothering economy with relevance to the Work of Crittenden.