Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Life Update

I wrote this on Monday, so when I say "yesterday" I mean "last Sunday." I didn't want to post this too soon after the Pride post because I wanted it to get some time at the top of my blog. Also, as you can tell, this is a long spiel about how life has been. Nothing too interesting, I totally understand if you skip it all, it was just nice to write it all out.

Before the life update, I wanted to share a couple more links about the Pride parade yesterday. Monya Baker blogged about the parade for Affirmation and included a picture of my awesome sign (I'd be more humble, except it was a pride parade. And that sign was full of win- so full of win that it made #27 in this list.) Tresa blogged her experience as well. And Laurie at Doves and Serpents. And Joanna Brooks did an overview of the many Pride parades that saw Mormon contingents this weekend.

This has been quite the couple of months. Some time in May I got hit with depression really bad. I stopped working out because when I did, I ended up either very cranky or napping most of the afternoon. I was trying to conserve energy, but I still ended up taking my fair share of naps. And the kids saw lots of TV. Monster's Inc. is the favorite at the moment. That and a really cheesy Netflix special on monster trucks. Margaret's opinion on monster trucks: "I want to watch monster trucks because they CRUSH CARS!!"

It was really classic depression: fatigue, lack of desire to do things I normally love (aka knit or blog), and craving sugar and wanting to just disappear in general. We all go through ups and downs, but once it hit 2 weeks straight, my brain told me, "Hey- this is when you tell new moms to get help: when it hits 2 weeks of every day, maybe you should do something about this." And of course, I didn't. I decided to "wait it out" and see if it'd just pick itself up on its own. Because you know, depression will magically cure itself.

In the midst of this, in May, I was talking to a good friend of mine about the upcoming summer. I haven't blogged about it, but June included a Disneyland trip and the Brave Wrap party in addition to the Pride parade. The trip to Disneyland was fun and we got to go to the new Cars Land before everyone else and without all the crowds. If you go to Cars Land, go at 8pm and watch them turn on the neons. And the race car ride is totally worth the wait- at least our wait, which was 1 hour for McKay and 10 minutes for me (rider swap!). I heard the wait was 5 hours on the day Cars Land opened to the public! Eek.

And the Brave Wrap party was fun, we did archery and played shinty and heard pipe bands, drummers, and saw dancers and weapons demonstrations. And we saw Brave in a specially made outdoor theater. And McKay joined the Pixar singers and was a part of the entertainment for the night (which got us reserved seats for the show- yay!) Sorry no pics at all for that. I took lots, but we aren't supposed to share them on social network sites, and I'm assuming public blogs fall under that description. McKay wore a kilt and I wore a dress I sewed myself. Fun times.

The kids got to see Brave the following week and Isaac wore his kilt to it. I think we're going to cosplay every show here on out. Monsters University will be SO MUCH FUN to cosplay. I'll have a real reason to buy fun fur yarn (you knitters are cringing, I know).

So back to me talking to my friend: the summer was looking overwhelming: we had/still have trips, I'm taking a class, and I was considering making a rather drastic decision in a mental state that was not really good at all. She listened like the lovely person she is- a very peaceful person. Then I mentioned Mormons for Marriage Equality and the Pride parade as an option for something else on my plate.

She responded, "That's so sweet."

"Yes, it is."

"You should do it. You love those kind of things."

She was right. She's remarked before that I'm a marcher/protester/holding a sign-er and she's not, but we have a lot of the same passions and work for similar causes. It takes all kinds. And when she said I should go to Pride, I knew she was right. It was exactly my element and I loved every minute.

Luckily, I was released from my nursery calling in this time frame. We were informed Memorial Day weekend that we'd be released the next week (while we were at Disneyland, in fact). That surprised me because my year wouldn't be up until July, but I'm not one to argue with a release. I'm good at nursery, but as I've mentioned before, I hate babysitting. I was cranky every Sunday when we got home from church- McKay even pointed it out at the end there that even when I wasn't going through this depression, it hit every Sunday. The bishopric member who released me also marched in the parade yesterday and I made a point to thank him for the release so I could go to Pride without finding a substitute for my calling. He laughed and joked that of course they plan callings and releases around the Pride parade!

So about that depression magically going away: about a week and a half ago, things started looking up. I even did some dishes (amazing!). I was a little suspicious that it was getting better, so I waited a few days before going back to working out- and I went a few times last week. A month off put me extremely out of shape- more than I thought it woud.

I didn't work out today because when I got up, I couldn't walk on my ankle (old injury from my teens, never healed). I wore my ankle brace at Pride, but I guess it wasn't enough. I'll go out tomorrow, though.

I've been trying to keep a normal routine for the kids: going to the park multiple times a week, a couple swimming trips, and even to Fairyland once and yesterday we went to Tilden Farm after Pride. Today was my day for doing "ALL THE THINGS!" but they haven't been done. House is still a mess, although I did clean the toilets and some of the dishes in the sink. Mid-afternoon I Facetimed McKay at work at told him how nothing was happening and how I spent the day watching videos of other people being awesome on the Internet and I was depressed at how I hadn't done anything all day. McKay was a dear and sent me a mathematical equations that draws a heart when you graph it and then said he'd send me a link that would make me feel better. I went to my computer to find a link to the Pride parade. I asked him about it and he said, "It's a video of you being awesome on the Internet." Aww.... That man is the best. Also, click on those videos. They might make you feel like you're not being awesome, but they are cool.

So that was longwinded.

Go on about your days. Eventually I'll pick up the energy to knit again. Maybe this week? We're going to the county fair on Wednesday to find out if I won anything for my parasol. Or I might just play video games like I have been for the past many weeks. I didn't have the concentration to knit, but I could play Zelda, so all was not lost.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pride 2012

If you had told me 10 years ago that I'd be marching in the San Francisco Pride parade, I wouldn't have believed you. Or that 3 of the guys I hung out with most at stake dances as a teen would come out of the closet at BYU. Well, they did (my poor 16 year old heart) and I did march: behold, I have pictorial proof! And if you see in on the Internet, it must be true.

Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons has marched in SFPride in years past and this year, Mormons for Marriage Equality joined them and I marched with them. Mormons have been marching in Pride parades all over this year.

For the past few days, I had been split on what to write on my sign. I felt that the San Francisco audience needed more than "We love you!" In light of Prop 8, at best that would have been insensitive and at worst, a downright smack in the face. In the end I came up with this:

 Is it too obvious that I made it last minute and had to use highlighter for the pink and yellow? And crayons for the rainbows? Yeah...

On to more pictures! I wasn't able to take any pictures during the parade because I was busy giving high fives and holding my sign full of win, so these are all pre-parade.

The Mormons for Marriage Equality banner:

Holding my sign and wearing my rainbow shawl. I knit it last year for the county fair and won honorable mention.

The famous Tresa! She also blogs at fMh and The Guardian and has a fashion blog, just to name a few. ETA: Alongside Tresa's sign, I wanted to link to the San Francisco State University Family Acceptance Project. They have recently re-done their pamphlets, made to help families with LGBTQ children learn how to be more accepting. Children who feel accepted by their families are less likely to die of suicide, take up risky behaviors like drugs and unprotected sex, and are more likely want want families themselves in the future. There is a pamphlet that is specifically geared to LDS families with quotes from LDS sources and experiences of LDS families.

The lovely Carol Lynn Pearson led us in song before the parade. In fact, it was her own song in the LDS Primary Songbook!

Mindi representing Berkeley here. There were a lot of SF and Berkeley LDS people. From my Oakland ward, I counted 7 people who decided that the Pride Parade would be more exciting and worthwhile than church today.

And here, too.

Group shot of some guys in shirts and ties.

A couple more group shots.

Mitch is on the right. He helped organize this and calls my ward his homeward, despite him being back in San Francisco for his time serving as an Executive Secretary. In true Mormon fashion, he gave a prayer beforehand. You can take a Mormon out of church on a Sunday, but you can't take the church out of a Mormon.

I also got a shot of the Google contingent. I had probably upwards of 20 people from Google come up and ask if they could take a picture of my sign or with me and my sign. They gave me a snap bracelet and Google+ sticker in return. I told them I better show up on the Google Homepage.

It was a lot of fun. Lots of "Thank yous!" and "Happy Pride!" At the end, a woman and her partner came up to us and said she grew up Mormon and her whole is in Utah, but hasn't spoken to her in 10 years and she's so glad we were marching today. That is exactly why I want to march here: families should not be broken up over LGBTQ or religious issues.

Want to see the Mormons in the parade? The video is here. We're at 55:40 in the second video. You have to push "play"at "re-live the broadcast" and go to the end so it can move onto the second video (it does this automatically at the end of the first video). Then go to 55:40! I'm there with my shawl and sign.

ETA: Our contingent won an "Absolutely Outrageous" award from the Pride Parade. There is a picture of the ribbon at the FB event page.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lactation Education

A few months ago, we watched a documentary on Netflix about the human body. I don't remember which one it was (probably a National Geographic one) and it went through the various body systems and explained how they each worked. The very last system discussed was the reproductive system and it follow the development of a fetus until birth. And then it ended.

Prior to becoming a breastfeeding mother, that probably would not have bothered me. But after learning about breastfeeding and learning how breastmilk bridges the gap between the time we are born to the time when we can independently fend for ourselves, it felt abrupt to end at birth. The pregnancy hormones don't just shut off rendering women in their pre-pregnant state right after giving birth. Hormones are still doing amazing things for  both us and our babies. The lack of a small section on lactation almost unsettled me. That's it? And the baby does what? The baby's brain does what? What hormonal changes are needed for milk production?

Last Thursday, I found myself in front of a classroom of about 20 high school students who were on the tail end of their reproduction unit in their honors physiology class. I was asked to use a 50 minute class period to discuss lactation. Because of the nature of their class, I thought they'd be interested in the development of the breast during puberty and pregnancy and the main hormones associated with breast development. I talked about how breastfeeding immediately after birth helps the woman's body make a smoother transition to postpartum-hood and prevents hemorrhage. Next, I discussed the major hormones needed for lactation and what happens during that time about day 3 postpartum when your hormones are flipping on their head, and what normal newborn nursing behavior is. At the end I talked about breastfeeding recommendations by the AAP and the WHO along with the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative and other ways to support breastfeeding moms and where to go for breastfeeding help.

I didn't hit every point I wanted to- it was a lot to cram into 50 minutes, even with a handy powerpoint presentation to remind me what to mention. I took questions, and the students were thoughtful in their questions and weren't giggly or immature like you might think teenagers would be after seeing diagrams and listening to the word "breast" multiple times in an hour.

I was glad that their teacher contacted me and I felt disappointed the other 1240 students in the school would get no lactation education. It's not in the curriculum. Anywhere. Their teacher, a PhD who decided to switch from teaching in a university to high school, and whose wife breastfed and pumped and worked, felt it was important for his students to get at least a little and so asked me. But otherwise, there would have been none. I know I never got any lactation curriculum in school, despite taking very high level AP science classes and the mandated health class. I didn't take "adult living" which was the class in which you had to take care of a mechanical "baby" so maybe it was mentioned in that class. Who knows?

I don't even remember seeing diagrams or explanations of the development of the breast. In textbooks on the human body, reproduction was often the very last chapter and it had diagrams of the uterus and ovaries, but the breast? I don't remember any.

It wouldn't even have to be in health class. In 3rd grade we learned the digestive system. Fourth grade was the circulatory, respiratory, and bone systems. In 5th grade we got to the endocrine system, nervous system, and reproductive system (for the puberty unit). I remember being given worksheets of pictures of neurons and having to label the dendrites, nucleus, axon, and axon tendrils. But never did I even see a cutout of the breast with alveoli, milk ducts, lobes, and nipple. A junior high or high school science class on anatomy or physiology could easily fit in lactation as a subject.

What would basic lactation education look like in schools? What if students were able to discuss the breast without giggling? What if students were introduced to images of breastfeeding as normal? What if they new terms like colostrum and montgomery glands? What if they heard about milk banking? What if a teacher happened to mention that there were breastfeeding support organizations like LLL or Breastfeeding USA or that there is a National Breastfeeding Helpline (1-800-994-9662)? Ten years later, when those students are deciding to have children, would they remember, "I remember my teacher mentioning some organization... let's see if I can google it?" I would hope so.

Does anyone know if there are any efforts to campaign for lactation education in schools? To get lactation education on the list of curriculum standards for high school health or biology? Anyone in education know how to rally for curriculum standard changes? If our government wants our breastfeeding rates to increase, I think this would be a great step towards meeting that goal. It wouldn't solve everything, but maybe we can produce a generation of people interested in breastfeeding and willing to make larger policy (eg. maternity/paternity support) changes.

ETA: Did you get any lactation education in your public, private, or homeschool? How much?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fun or nightmares?

When Margaret was a baby, she would giggle in her sleep. And it was cute and we'd go, "Aww..."

And then just 3-5 minutes later, she'd wake up screaming.

This happened a lot. I assume it's some sort of REM sleep thing where her brain is going through a lot of chemicals quickly. Or something.

Isaac has done it a little, but not as much as Margaret.

It happened regularly enough that when I heard giggles, I'd go to her and hold her to prepare for the screaming.

I googled this to see if other children have this sort of giggle/scream sleep combination, but I must not be using the right search terms. Maybe it's a night terror?

I'm blogging about it now because I wondered if a blog post would have better luck finding other people who have run into this. I'm not concerned about it, she doesn't seem harmed by this, it's just something weird she did. In fact, she still does it. In the last two weeks, I've been woken in the middle of the night by her giggling and I climbed over to her to snuggle her, anticipating the mood swing in her sleep. She no longer screams like she did as a baby, but sure enough, 3-5 minutes later, she started stirring restlessly in her sleep. Cuddling her helped.

Anyone else with a kid who gets mood swings in their sleep?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Weaning Party

We had a weaning party for Margaret. And by "weaning party" I mean that I baked some cupcakes and took them to a regular park day and called it a party. Because I'm awesome like that. I let Margaret pick the day and we put it on our calendar and each day as we crossed off the day, she knew the weaning party was coming up.

Since then, Margaret has only asked to nurse once and all I had to say was, "Remember your weaning party?" She does ask to cuddle to fall asleep and will request a song or two, but she's been falling asleep mostly on her own anyway. She gets thirsty at night, so we have a water bottle handy and that's that.

I thought I'd share a couple of other weaning party ideas I've heard of in case someone is looking for ideas.

I have one friend who took her daughter and daughter's friends to Build a Bear. At Build a Bear, you can choose "big" animals and "baby" animals, and the weaning girl chose a mommy and a baby (and accessories of course) and I think the idea was that instead of the girl nursing, the baby animal could nurse from the mommy one. Not sure if that's how the girl played with the animals, but it's a cute idea.

Another friend shared with me that a friend of hers (oh, friend of a friend!) made weaning cookies with her kid and over the first few days when the child would ask to nurse, the mom would say, "Let's go have a weaning cookie!" instead to redirect the child. I think that's pretty clever, too.

Have any other weaning party ideas?

I did make sure to get a couple of nursing pictures the day before the day of weaning. I'll share them in the future.

ETA: A video! I took it the day before her weaning party. It's a little shaky because it was done on my phone. And for understanding the video, we call nursing, "breast" or "getting breast."

In the video, I forgot to ask her what breatmilk tastes like, so I asked her later and her reply was, "Ice cream!"