Table of Contents
From the Editor
You know what winter brings to mind? Obstacles. For those of us in the Midwest, it means overcoming dreadful wind chills and icy roads. Or the boredom of being stuck inside all day. Or the blues that quite typically come with the dull, grey skies of January. Overcoming obstacles? Well, SMCs do it every day, no matter what stage they might be in: thinking, trying to conceive or adopt, or parenting a precious one (or two or three). And this issue is chock full of overcoming obstacles. May it brighten your winter day! Do you have a story to share or have a request for a story? You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Our Own Words
Editor’s Note: A member recently asked to hear from mothers who have three children, preferably a mother with an older child and twins. She wanted to hear how these mothers handle having three, including multiples. And SMCs were more than happy to answer!
What first went through your mind upon hearing you were pregnant with twins?
K: I had always pictured myself with twins, trying the second time around was much harder. I got pregnant with C at 38, no drugs and one IUI. When trying at 41 it took six of my seven vials I had stocked up for at 12 weeks pregnant with C. Two IVF’s, three injections and one without drugs. The sixth try I was very aggressive and after the two week wait found out I was indeed pregnant, but the numbers were not crazy. They were very similar to C’s numbers, so I spent the next few weeks trying to convince myself it was ok to have one and not twins. Yes I was disappointed thinking it was a single! Ultrasound day came and two heart beats. I was beyond excited.
L: Wow. Just wow. At this visit was also when my ob-gyn sat me down and explained to me that twins are a high-risk pregnancy, the possible complications, bed rest, etc. It was very overwhelming and scary, but also so exciting.
While pregnant, what concerns/fears did you have about having three (two babies and an older child to consider!) children? Did any of these fears prove to be unfounded?
K: Other than my health during the pregnancy (I had HELLP and GD my first pregnancy), my biggest fear was that N&E (the twins) would have a deeper connection with each other and C would feel left out. I was nervous for nothing. N&E adore C and they each have a very special relationship with him. I can’t say any one relationship is stronger than the other at this point. By the way, I did develop HELLP and GD with the twins and ended up delivering at 33 weeks. Not ideal, but I’m grateful they are fighters and only had to spend 18 days in the NICU.
L: I think I was the opposite of most people – I thought it would be easier than it was. It is entirely do-able, and I love having three kids, but I didn’t have any idea how much a blur that first year was going to be.
How did you prepare your oldest child for the arrival of twins?
K: C turned three years old the month before the twins were born. We talked a lot about his brother and sister coming and I let him run the discussion a lot of the time. C decided they were his babies so we ran with it. I needed him to like/love them and I thought this would be helpful in that and it was. His anger/tantrums during that period were toward me and not them.
L: I don’t think you do anything different than preparing an older child for a second (or third baby). I recommend involving them in the process as much as possible (like setting up the babies’ room). And seriously, take advantage of going to places with just one while you can. I don’t think I hit a restaurant with all three kids by myself until the twins were at least two years old. It was just too much work and so many unknowns until they are a bit older.
What’s your best kept secret about single parenting three kids? Meaning, how do you do it (and do it so well!)?
K: I don’t think I have any special secret. I am a pretty independent person and rarely asked for help in the past. I had to get over that. I built a great network of friends in town and have found great sitters, mostly through the daycare they went to when they were younger. My mom lives a town away and used to be able to run over if I needed help. I also am learning how to forgive myself. This is a tough one, because you want to always do everything right and make the right choices for your kids, but I don’t always succeed. I make mistakes, I yell more than I wish I did, I start and stop different tactics constantly to try and make our home a more peaceful place for us all.
I also instill independence in my kids, they all have age appropriate responsibilities in our house. I want them to make choices. I don’t hover over them constantly mostly because I just can’t and second because I want them to learn their choices have consequences good or bad. Also I want them to learn to follow-through on things. If you are willing to put something on the line, you better be willing to follow through with it. I have never given a warning that I didn’t follow through on.
L: I’m a schedule and organizational freak. Seriously. When they were babies, keeping the boys on a schedule was the only way I could make sure I had time for my daughter. If that meant waking one up to eat when the other was up, I did it. Our stuff has a specific place, so we aren’t spending time trying to track down everything, etc. Now that the kids are older (my twins just turned five and my daughter will be eight in a few weeks), they know where their stuff goes when we come home at night and they put it away. Same with their toys, laundry, etc. I plan our meals for the week every weekend, so I’m only going to the grocery once a week (on the weekend), etc. I know structure scares a lot of people, but it is truly the only way I can sanely manage three kids and a full-time job. And this is THE KEY – hire someone to clean your house once a week or every two weeks, and hire someone for snow removal/lawn care. It won’t last forever, but when the kids are young, it is the best money you will ever, ever spend.
What words of wisdom do you have for a SMC who has a child and is considering trying for more?
K: You need to listen to your heart when you take the jump. Your life will be crazy. My kids are 10 and seven years old and our house is crazy loud. There is a ball flying around constantly, a wrestling match taking place, or Nerf bullets flying. The personalities clash a lot, but they have each other’s backs. I am tired constantly, I have more laundry than you would imagine and my house never seems put together, but we have each other and they are really good kids. At any one point one of them is giving me a run for my money, they are challenging and smart, and pretty impressive people. The biggest challenge these days is being at all the places they all need to be. My calendar is crazy to look at with work, school, birthday parties, playdates and sports schedules. My life is no longer mine, but I am so grateful to have them and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. It truly is a leap of faith. I am blessed.
L: Be sure you have thought about the mechanics and expenses of a second/third child, just as much (if not more) of the thought you put into having one child. If you have the help you need (whether from family or paid help), go for it. It is a lot of work, but seeing the bond my kids have makes it all worthwhile.
The Things Kids Say!
No doubt about it – our kids are adorable and funny. Need proof? Just read the things they say.
My son had his 4 year old check-up today and got shots.
To the nurse and I through tears, sniffles and a pouty lip.
D: You. Broke. My. Heart!
Mom: “What do you want on your bagel?
Stephanie: “I want strawberry jam.”
Alex: “I want traffic jam.”
N: I need to see a nose doctor.
Me: Why, what is wrong with your nose?
N: There’s too much boogers in there!!?????!!!
G: Mommy, what’s this I keep holding but it keeps popping out of my fingers?
Me: That’s your testicle.
G: What’s it for?
Me: It holds your sperm. One day you can use your sperm to help make a baby.
G: Ew, I don’t want any babies.
Me: Ok …
G: But what does the sperm do?
Me: It mixes with the female egg to make a baby.
G: Oh! It’s a present?
“You taught third grade?!!!”
“Yes, a long time ago, in the 1990’s”
“You mean when everything was in black and white?”
When I tucked my son in the other night he said:
“Mommy, I’m going to miss you while I’m sleeping.”
Today’s chapel lesson as told by a 4-yr old:
“Lord God watches all of us and protects us from bad guys. Where does he take fight lessons? Because I want to go.”
The Biggest Obstacle
By Cheri Tabel
Confession – I’m rarely on the Forum. And when I do visit the Forum it is usually because I am posting a question for mothers in the “School Age” group or because I’m working on the next issue of the newsletter. I love the conversations on the Forum, but I can’t access it from work and my evenings leave little time for it.
I do get the digest version emailed to me daily. As I scroll through the posts, I’m always so impressed with the conversations that happen between women with children my son’s age and women trying to conceive (ttc). How lucky are we to be in a group that is happy to share what they know/did/try with others in order to help them achieve their dream? And I’m in awe when someone can detail their blood counts, follicle size and medication schedule while ttc’ing, as if it were yesterday.
Six months, four IUIs, one with Chlomid, three with Repronex, one laproscopic surgery for endometriosis. By all accounts, my attempt to conceive was relatively easy. While I was in the heart of trying, though, it sure didn’t feel that way.
The one moment I remember so vividly was after receiving my third negative pregnancy test after the IUI I had immediately following surgery. I was so sure the third time would be a charm now that my body was “fixed.” I started crying and could not stop. The crying turned to sobbing and my body shaking. I had to leave the office. I eventually ended up on the floor at home, in a ball, broken by the medications, the hormones, the dashed hopes. That feeling of having nothing left inside … that I will never forget.
I don’t remember how I got off the floor. I do remember calling the doctor to say I was taking a break. My spirit, my mind and my body all needed a rest. Almost two months later, on my fourth IUI, during one of the coldest Januarys on record, hope came back in the form of a thin, blue line.
1. something that obstructs or hinders progress.
SMCs are a diverse and varied group. The one characteristic that seems to tie us together is our ability to overcome. Test results, sperm counts, adoption paperwork. Obstacles are no match for our dreams.
What’s the Buzz?
Joys and challenges? Yep. SMCs have them. Recently the Huffington Post asked single mothers to share photos that represent single parenting. The photos and captions are beautiful and sure to resonate with you.
In an upcoming issue of the SMC newsletter we would like to share your photos. Send photos that represent single mother by choice parenting to you. They will be featured in an upcoming issue.
Send your photos to: email@example.com
In the meantime, enjoy what the HuffPost community has to share.
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I wanted to share the arrival of my little miracle, Samuel Levi Feldheim. Born on August 26th, 2014 at 8:15 am. He arrived sunny side up (ouch!) at 7 lbs., 5 oz., and 21 inches long. He is my miracle and I cannot possibly put in to words how much I love him.
Lexi Sarah Kies was born on 11/4/14 to Abigail R. Kies. Lexi was 6 lbs., 15 oz. at birth, and both mom and baby are doing great.
I welcomed my daughter, Fiona McGrann, to the world on 7/14/14. She arrived a few weeks early, weighing in at 6 lbs, 6 ozs and 20 inches. She is a delight to be around and is currently enjoying our cold winter weather.