Surprise...I'm pregnant, baby announcements!

No, I'm not pregnant..I've been fixed. Or as my doctor argues the pc term is sterilized. Whatever you call it. I ain't ever gonna have any more babies!

I have been pregnant 5 times.Why didn't anyone tell me that you are supposed to make a big deal out of announcing your pregnancy? Seriously, if I had been told I would have announced my pregnancy like this:

Me: You know what me and my oven have in common?
Other person: What?
Me: We're both baking something.

Now, If I hadn't been puking my brains out I might have even made them a homemade baked good. Might have, but probably not.

There are tons of cute little pregnancy announcement ideas on Pinterest and some scarier ones.
But, seriously who do you send these pregnancy announcements to?
Like this:
Not sure if I should congratulate her or send my sympathy, Sure hope her pregnancy got better. Yikes!

Where are they going to put baby #3?

Someone isn't happy. Good luck parents to be.

Wow. That was quick.

I have 5 what?

Lately I've seen/heard quite a few...stupid comments....let's call them opinions regarding how many children people have. I thought I would add my two cents on the matter. First of all I have five children; 4 living and 1 in heaven. I have heard all sorts of ..interesting comments when I tell people how many children I have. I started making my own jokes about "having so many" children just to avoid listening to people say really stupid things; like "Looks like you've got your hands full" Really? Is punching you still illegal? Thought so....but just checking.

What is considered to be a bunch of children? It seems by people's comments it is anything more than 2?  I was really offended one time when someone said to Aaron something like "I heard you had a bunch of kids living at your house now" I can't really say why I was offended, hormones maybe? (I was pregnant at the time)  Three of the bunch are not biologically Aaron's children but he has made the choice to love them, care for them and support them just as they are is own...they are not simply just "living at his house" I heard a similar comment the other day from a former high school classmate implying I have "a bunch" of kids. Yes, I have five children but is that really considered "a bunch"?  Comments like this are insulting, while I understand that not everyone is aware of our son's death but it still hurts to think we have one less child living at our house than we should.

The connection between having multiple children and "living off government assistance" Really people?? This pisses me off for so many reasons. I was on food stamps for short amount of time after separating from my ex-husband. Not because I had 3 children or wanted to be lazy and just kick back and reap the benefits. Because I had just gone from a 2 family income to a 1 family income and even though I was working 2 jobs I needed a little extra help. (I wasn't receiving child support, the court system is very screwed up)  I had to provide them with several different documents and information stopping just shy of having to share a kidney to receive a couple hundred dollars a month to help buy groceries. The point isn't easy to get assistance, they don't just hand out money to anyone who "pops another kid out" as people tend to imply. . Don't get me wrong I know there are people out there who do abuse the system, in my opinion they are either going to abuse it or they aren't. I don't think it has anything to do with how many children they have. I know people without children who are on financial assistance. I also know people who could/should be on assistance but aren't. Not everyone who has multiple children are on state assistance. Stop the stereo-types people it's ridiculous.

The misconception that big families are out of control. Having 5 kids means that there is never a dull moment at my house. But it doesn't mean that my children aren't well behaved or that we cause a scene every time we go out in public. It doesn't mean that each one of my children doesn't feel very loved and cared for. However, it does mean that we have plenty of laughter. Whether you have 1 child or 10 children every family has their good and bad days.

People love to say "looks like you've got your hands full" yep we've all heard it, and heard it, and heard it.....well you know what they say better the glass is half full than half empty so yeah I have my hands full... full of love....full of hugs...full of five beautiful children! And I couldn't ask for anything more. So the next time someone says to me "looks like you've got your hands full" I'm going to respond with "If you think my hands are full you should see my heart"

P.S.:  Anna, one of my favorite bloggers at My Life and Kids wrote this blog Why Everyone (Except Me) Should Have at Least Four Kids Personally I thought it was hilarious, maybe not completely accurate but hilarious nonetheless!!


That dreaded question...

It happens all the time. You meet new people, you run into an old high school classmate, the stranger in line at the grocery store strikes up conversation, you meet other moms, etc... The point is we are constantly being asked the same generic "getting to know you" questions.

Now these questions are so generic that they should be the easiest questions in the world for you to answer. Something as simple as your name and your children's names, are you married, what you do for work, do have kids, etc.. you know what I mean. I hate these questions.

I have never been one to enjoy small talk but I could tolerate it. You chitchat for a minute, pretend to care what the other person is saying, promise to get together, exchange numbers and bolt. Easy peasy, right? Nope. Not for me. Not anymore. Small talk has become somewhat of a fear of mine since losing my infant son.

It happened to me recently when I ran into an old high school classmate. I usually try really hard to avoid these situations but there was no way of getting out of it because I came directly face to face with her. The conversation went something like this:

Classmate: Oh. My. God.. Hi!!. How are you? (oh boy)
Me: I'm great. You know busy, busy. (please get me out of here before she asks that dreaded question)
Classmate: Yeah, I heard you a bunch of kids...right?
Me: Yep a bunch and I'm really busy. Good seeing you. ( I lied I was just trying to get the heck outta there)
Classmate: So how many do you have now?
Me: How many what?
Classmate: Kids? How many kids do you have?

(Shit...there it is. The dreaded question...What do I say?...Do I tell her I have five? But then I'll have to explain about Rylan knowing how people tend to react....Or should just say I have four to avoid the awkwardness. But then I will feel guilty for not including him.)

Classmate is giving me the hairy eyeball because now an uncomfortable amount of time has passed and she knows just as I do this should be such an easy question, damn it.

Me: (I settle on my usual answer) I have five but one passed away so I have four at home.
Classmate: Oh wow. That sucks. (she is instantly wishing she hadn't asked) Well so....I'm sorry for your loss. (Now I'm wishing I had just said four to avoid this moment right here.)

Typically this is where I make some snarky joke about having a drinking problem or him being so well behaved it's like he's not even there, just to ease the awkwardness only making people more uncomfortable because honestly who jokes after announcing their baby died. Uh, besides me. Humor was the way we dealt with his death. But she said something about having to go, it was great seeing me and she was outta there quicker than I could say "Everything happens for a reason, right?" (which is one of the all time worst things you can say to a grieving parent, and yes we've heard it from people)  So there I stood there for a few moments wondering, why is it so difficult for people to accept death as they would accept life? I don't see people running for the door the second I say I had another baby.

I know a lot of Angel parents feel the same way as I do. We only hesitate to answer "that dreaded question" for your sake not ours. We don't mind talking about our babies. In fact we want to acknowledge our babies life. So don't be afraid to ask us about our little ones, don't be afraid to hear our story. Maybe then "that dreaded question" can turn into a wonderful opportunity for us to share their life and for everyone to cherish the memory of a child gone way to soon.

Quitting...the blame game about SIDS

We know the most important thing we can do as parents is to protect our children. Having a child changes our world forever. We know we will feed them, love them, cuddle them, make sure they are kept happy and healthy. If they are sick we take them to the doctor and do everything we can to keep them comfortable.

What if you tuck your wonderful bundle of joy into bed feeling blessed and confident as a parent; only to wake up discovering your little one as slipped away quietly to Heaven. This is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and it claims the lives of about 2,500 babies every year (statics found here). My family was affected by SIDS in 2011, when my son Rylan passed away in his sleep. Naturally our instinct is to blame ourselves, I know I did, because it is our purpose to protect our children, right?

At the time we had Rylan I already had 3 other children and now have another baby. (see here) Let me make it clear that there is nothing. I mean NOTHING that I did differently with him than I did with any of my other children. It was this fact alone that has kept my blame game at bay. But what about other parents? What about the first time parents who's baby became a victim of SIDS? They are left with blaming themselves because they have no reason to think otherwise. This breaks my heart.

Every time I talk with other SIDS parents I hear the same thing; "I blame myself". I won't lie I blamed myself too but after questioning "why" so many times and coming up without answers I have succumbed to the fact that there just are no answers. At this point there are only "recommendations" for how to reduce SIDS but even if you follow those recommendations to a tee there is no guarantee that your little one won't be the next victim. We can only pursue research to stop it. I'm not here to scare anyone or cause you to be paranoid. I am here to try and ease the minds of other SIDS parents.

I would like to say this to those parents:

                  "I know the likeliness is that you will still blame yourself at times. But I hope that when those thoughts creep into your head you think about this....For everything you did there are thousands of parents who have done the same thing with their own children and their children are fine. While that might upset you with the "Why my child, then" it may also help you to understand that it is NOTHING YOU DID WRONG!!!  Also, know that you are not alone and there are a lot of helpful support websites; two of my personal favorites are CJ Foundation for SIDS and SIDS Support - Learning to Cope "