Beauty From Pain: a mom’s tale

We recently celebrated Mother’s Day. Flower sales were up, card sales were up, and restaurants did good business as children of all ages attempted to treat their moms to a special day. I won’t lie, moms deserve a day of recognition! Even if your mother wasn’t the most loving person, at least she gave birth to you. Be thankful you weren’t aborted!

Mothers do sacrifice for their children. We watch our bodies morph into an ungainly incubation chamber during pregnancy. We suffer the pain of having tiny feet kick our ribs and organs. We learn how to do the duck walk, use our stomachs as portable tables, and attempt to rise and sit with some measure of grace (which usually looks as graceful as a seal on dry land). I don’t have to wax poetic about the suffering of child-birth since most everyone has an inkling of what that entails thanks to t.v. and movies. Even after birth, we aren’t our own anymore. Our bodies are forever changed, and for most moms our hearts are, too. Whether you stay home with your children or not, they will make demands on your time, you’ll no longer be able to make plans without considering their care, and you’ll often have to sacrifice your plans for their benefit. Motherhood requires sacrifice.

But is it a punishment?

I’m very troubled by a sitting president calling an unplanned pregnancy a ‘punishment.’ Of course I am referring to Obama stating that he wouldn’t want his daughters to be “punished with a baby.”( http://michellemalkin.com/2008/03/30/sunday-meditation-obama-and-the-punishment-of-unborn-life/ ) This statement is almost ludicrous in light of the fact that most unplanned pregnancies and STD’s are not the result of some forceful action taken against a girl. Basically what he’s saying is “If my daughters exercise bad judgement, they shouldn’t have to live with the consequences of it, even if that means another human being dies.” Think about it! I readily admit that motherhood is a sacrifice and will change your life, but we all know the stork doesn’t bring babies, now don’t we? There’s this whole matter of sexual activity prior to the dreaded ‘punishment’ of pregnancy. Teenagers are notorious for making poor judgement calls, but I fail to see how treating human life like an object as disposable as a candy wrapper is going to EVER teach them wisdom!

Before you get on your high horse about the struggles of teen pregnancy, know this: I was a teen mom. I was one of the lucky ones with a supportive family, but I was a teen. I had to change all of my post-graduation plans. My friends didn’t know how to talk to me anymore. My boyfriend vacillated between “It’s not mine” and “Let’s get married.” I was terrified, but I was also intensely aware that I had a whole lot more responsibility now. There was never a question of whether or not I ‘wanted it.’ There was little question that I would ‘keep it.’ My parents gave me the option of staying home, going to community college, and having them help with my baby. I chose instead to marry the boy (who joined the Marines), move across the country, and give birth in a Naval hospital (where my new husband promptly left me alone so he could catch up on his online game play). I was in the hospital for 3 days. Alone. No, not alone; I had my baby. My precious little punishment.

My sweet little bundle of punishment taught me a lot about life, about what really matters. I saw the world with new eyes. I saw how simple things: a walk in the sunshine, the smell of a flower, a tiny snail; were beautiful. I saw how shallow and unimportant were the things I’d once thought so grand. I rediscovered the world by teaching my child about it. Suddenly, I knew my own importance wasn’t measured by the opinions of others. I was most valuable when I read a bedtime story to my child. I was most beautiful when I danced with her in my arms. And when I became pregnant again, and my then-husband threatened the life of that unborn baby with his fists, I left. I had learned to value and protect life.

And my ‘punishment’ became my salvation. 

So, yes, motherhood is hard. What you won’t learn from the president, though, is this: it’s always worth it. I may have sacrificed my youth at the altar of motherhood, but to know how greatly it has blessed me…. well, you’d have to experience it for yourself.

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A Message From the Rebel Base

Well, it’s May 4th today, and all day in true nerd fashion I’ve been saying

May the Fourth be with you!

Watching Star Wars as a kid was one of my favorite things to do, and one of the many things I could share with my bff- my brother. He wasn’t really into Sleeping Beauty or Grease (more of my favorites), but we could share Star Wars and then later Indiana Jones. It was fun, and exciting, and inspired our imaginations. You may think playing with Barbies is dull and boring, but add some booby traps and suddenly Ken is in the Temple of Doom, and Barbie’s life is in mortal danger! Those were good times.

One thing I really miss about my childhood is that in the books, movies, and television shows, there was a good guy and a bad guy. Unless you were watching My Little Pony, the bad guys were really bad, too. There was never any question of Hordak being ‘misunderstood’. He was evil, enslaving the population of Etheria, and She-Ra and the Rebellion were definitely in the right to resist him and bring the hurt to him and his Evil Horde.

I miss those shows that placed a high value on individual freedom: Star Wars, Transformers, She-Ra: Princess of Power. We had a President (Reagan) who inspired us and a fundamental idea that freedom was a precious gift.

Which brings me to my question… What happened? When did we become so complacent with our cozy little lives that we willingly began handing over freedoms to a government entity? Are we really that scared? Is it worth it to live in a cage just to be safe?

I’m a proud American and fully believe we live in the greatest country in the world. That’s why I find it so bothersome that we have stopped believing that we are capable of looking after ourselves and must rely on our government to provide everything for us. Perhaps the most disturbing trend I see in people around me is that they don’t even consider whether or not they can accomplish something on their own, they just immediately question whether there is a ‘program’ or ‘benefit’ that covers the current need. Really? Was your spirit crushed or did it just fall asleep? Have you no confidence in yourself?

So today as I enjoy the classic tale of a ragtag group of interstellar, freedom-fighting Rebels, I remember another group of ragtag militia from around the year 1776 and their dream of freedom and self-determination. Would they be happy with the way we have preserved the heritage of freedom that they fought so hard for, and won against all odds? Or would they shake their heads in disgust at us, because of our apathy? If we don’t actively preserve our freedom ourselves, we have no one to blame for its loss but… ourselves.

And with that thought I leave you with some quotes from Thomas Jefferson:

That government is best which governs the least, because its people discipline themselves.

I hold it, that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.

So keep up the good fight, fellow patriots. And May the Fourth be with you 😉