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Monthly Archives: November 2012

“I have died every day waiting for you, darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years, I’ll love you for a thousand more…”

Last thursday night, my rock star husband stayed home with our three kids and my best friend’s four kids at our house while I went out to see Breaking Dawn Part 2. Yes, I know. But it’s kind of a tradition now, we have gone to all the premieres, so we had to go to this one or the Volturi win. Without spoiling it, I’ll say that it’s probably the best out of the last four, and the twist is awesome. I went with Kris and Haley and an undisclosed husband, who informed every stranger that he was “just dropping us off”, yet yelled at me in the parking lot because I was moving at human speed instead of man in denial speed.

In honor of the last movie experience (which I am sure Wes is grateful for), I decided to invite Edward to hang out with me during the day…

Edward was confused and disappointed by the “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan

Edward, seriously…all the chicken is cooked here…

Later that night…

Even vampires love pumpkin spice lattes

“Hey, undisclosed friend…could you drive a little faster?” (He’s such a backseat driver)

Edward and Lincoln have a stare down. Lincoln will try to slay him later, but Edward will sparkle and blind him.

“Guys? We’re friends, right? I mean, we’re all super manly tough guys. Right? Guys? Hey, where are you going?”

Oh Spidermonkey. You are so pretty. But I shall not give into your brooding or glitter tears.

The next morning…

He sees a buffet…

Edward and Bella, sittin in a tree, P-O-U-T-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a half vamp baby with a ridiculous name.

Spying a vampire version of Thanksgiving dinner, Edward confronts Hedwig

Hedwig is a bad mamajama. She takes Edward down while Bella looks on with horror and grief.

That isn’t the twist in the movie. But it should have been.

An evening filled with laughter and silliness! Thanks Kris, Haley, and undisclosed husband friend whose name definitely does not rhyme with “Sob” for such a fun night.

Mama Mondays- “Ask me anything, everything, whatever’s on your mind, if I don’t know the answer then I will help you find, whatever answers can be found and if some just cannot, I’ll help you keep on asking, so ask anything you want…”

This week’s question was not submitted, it’s just an issue that we are currently dealing with with sweet Malachi. Last week, we were sitting at dinner with the kids, and randomlly (meaning, we weren’t talking about this at all), Malachi said “I really miss my birthmother and birthfather.”

The sound of a screeching record ensued. With three kids, we have had multiple conversations about birth parents, but with our two older ones, their statements and questions have been more curious rather than sad. We sent the two older kids to get ready for bed and listened to Malachi as he began to ask many questions about his birth family, Ethiopia, and even theology questions!  While we didn’t anticipate such heavy dinner conversation, it was good to hear him talk about his feelings and fears.

The first time a child brings up this subject can be jarring to parents. We spend so much time preparing for those questions, and yet they rarely come at the time we think or the way we expect them to. Obviously Malachi has known from day one that we adopted him, and we use “adoption language” regularly in our home. We have many transracial family friends, so adoption isn’t a strange or foreign concept to our kids. I hope this contributes to him being comfortable and feeling safe to ask questions and express sadness. I know we haven’t and won’t always handle this perfectly, but here are some points to consider when thinking through how to respond to hard questions…

Check yo’ self- Like almost all parenting issues, it begins with an honest self assessment. Your fears, insecurities, prejudices, and unresolved feelings will show up if you are not intentional about dealing with them. Children are amazingly intuitive when it comes to understanding when something is “off-limits” or makes mommy and daddy uncomfortable. And while they may be expressing love about birth parents, they are also feeling loyalty to you and will shut down if they feel like they are being disloyal to you.  Examine your heart way before these questions arise!  Believe me, I know hearing “I miss my birth mother” isn’t going to feel good. But you have to remember that part of your job as a parent is to shepherd your child through these confusing feelings and thoughts, not to dismiss or fix them. Resist the urge to make them make you feel better!  This can be especially challenging when you might have a difficult relationship with the birth parents or if the adoption happened because of abuse or neglect. Take a deep breath. Watch your tone and body language. Realize that you are an adult and you have all the information. Your child has childlike thinking and doesn’t have all the information. Your job isn’t to MAKE them see reality. Your job is to be a safe place and to love them.

Answer questions appropriately- consider your child’s age and reasoning ability. You don’t have to give them the full story all at once! Don’t lie, but don’t give them details that would overwhelm them. It’s okay to say “we can talk about that when you are a little older” It’s also okay to say “I don’t know”. I’d suggest practicing this if you aren’t good at thinking on your feet. You may feel a little silly, but sit with your spouse or a friend and role play your responses to difficult questions.  Think about where your child is developmentally- a very young child won’t understand complicated birth family dynamics or drug and alcohol abuse, but they can understand “Your birth mother and birth father loved you and wanted you to have a mommy and a daddy and a brother and sister and we are so so glad they chose us to be your forever family”  Statements like “she wasn’t ready to be a mommy” don’t make sense to young kids- as far as they are concerned, being ready to be a mommy means having a bottle and a crib. (Obviously not all adoptions will fit into this statement. If you have a specific situation that you’d like some ideas for responses for, please email me and I will try to help).

Protect your child from too much information or exposure- I’ll preface this by saying that this is my opinion. I’m sure there are others who would disagree. Years ago, the concept of open adoption was unheard of. Now, it is almost impossible to have an adoption that is completely closed. While I think that completely closed adoptions aren’t the best situation, I believe we sometimes go too far in the other direction. When we adopted our daughter, we discussed the openness issue with her birth parents and what I said was “we are open to letters, emails, pictures, and visits, as long as it remains healthy for Selah and healthy for you. If at some point it becomes unhealthy, let’s talk about it and figure out what to do.”  Figuring out what place a birth parent has in your family is tricky, no doubt, but I have seen parents who inadvertently sacrifice their child’s heart for the sake of openness. I have also seen (and have been guilty of) parents who deal with their guilt over “taking” someone’s child by pouring into the birth parent emotionally, physically, sometimes financially. If your child is an emotional mess before or after a visit, think through whether or not it is the best thing for them right now. If your child’s birth parents are engaging in dangerous or self destructive behavior, maybe think twice before sharing that with your child. Think about how helpless you may feel knowing you can’t fix it or help, and then see that through your child’s eyes(who really IS helpless to fix anything and can’t understand these complicated adult issues anyway). Just because a child is asking about or expressing a desire to see or talk to a birth parent does not mean it is the best thing for them. This is especially true if the birth parent hasn’t dealt with their own grief or has a problem with boundaries. When I worked for Child Protective Services, I supervised a visit for a family who had adopted a six-year-old girl. The birth mother brought her a shirt that said “Mommy’s little girl” and insisted that she wear it during the visit. She also corrected the child to call her Mommy (the child had been removed at age two, and had been with her adoptive family since then). She criticized how the mom had fixed her hair, the shoes she was wearing, and when the mother corrected her for a behavior, the birth mother interrupted and told her it was okay. Now, I think this is an extreme example, but I have seen this more subtly with others. How confusing for that little girl! She’s got one woman who she remembers somewhat who is hugging her, giving her gifts, looks like her, and doesn’t correct her and one woman who she loves and is attached to who is her mommy. It was no surprise to me to hear that this little girl had been defiant, emotional, and subdued for weeks before the visit and after the visit became physically sick. Relationships are never black and white and hardly ever simple, but taking a step back and examining if the level of openness and disclosure is really benefitting your child is worth the time and effort.

Consider triggers- while this seemed out of the blue when Malachi started asking questions, when I looked back, I think he’s had a couple of triggers for these questions and feelings. One, we are moving soon. We are just moving across the street and he’s been to the house multiple times, but still I think there is some anxiety and confusion. One of his questions centered around when he might return to Ethiopia, which leads me to believe he is anxious and/or confused about whether we are permanent in his life. Our response was- “Maybe someday we will go to Ethiopia together for a visit, but you will live with us forever (and he will. My babies don’t get to leave ; ) ). The other thing I think triggered this was that Malachi is really starting to notice that he’s the only black person in our family. He has occasionally mentioned that he’s the only one with curly hair, or he’ll ask when Josiah’s skin is going to turn brown. I can’t stress the importance enough of making sure your child has other friends of his race. This is something I am really working on now for him. Don’t underestimate it. Saying you are “colorblind” sounds nice, but my goal isn’t to be colorblind, it’s to be heart-blind. I want to love, no matter what. I don’t want to act like race has no importance.  Another trigger seems to be celebrations- my older kids seem to have more questions around their birthdays. They also ask more questions when we are celebrating friends who have adopted, or friends who have just given birth. I know that my oldest had ALOT of anxiety when his newest cousin Jackson was born. He wasn’t old enough to really articulate this when his other cousin Grayson was born, but when Jackson was born, he mentioned thinking that everyone was going to love him more because he had blue eyes just like everyone else in the family.(which isn’t true, but it felt true to him). My sister-in-law is going to have a girl soon, and I am wondering if that will trigger any anxiety for Selah. (she was already very confused at why Aunt Nikki’s baby isn’t going to be black, haha!). Pay attention to conversations your kids are having with friends- sometimes those can be triggers. Media can also trigger feelings about adoption- stories on the news, movies, etc. Last year Josiah watched “Annie” at school and came home sad and confused about what an orphanage was. His biggest worry was- Annie’s “parents” came back for her, and will that happen to any of them?  Try to view these things through a child’s eyes!

Manage your anxiety- the next day after Malachi’s questions, I ran errands with him. While we were in a store, Malachi started whining for some candy. Normally, I’d not give into that request, but I found myself tempted to get the candy! I realized that I was feeling a little like I wanted to spoil him- not so he’d like me more, but to somehow lessen his sadness. I found myself being a little more indulgent with him through out the day. I think this is a mistake, and here’s why- I want Malachi to feel like questions and feelings are normal, not to be feared, and not to be blown out of proportion. If I all of a sudden become super fun indulgent mommy, I am sending the message that I am freaked out by his questions. Not only does that send a message that there might be something wrong with his questions, it also opens the door to manipulation. Don’t think for one second that sweet little face wouldn’t use this to manipulate! Later that night, Malachi wandered in after he was supposed to be in bed. After multiple requests for drinks, bathroom trips, stories, he came in grinning and said “I can’t sleep. I miss my birth mother”. I said “I know you do. We will talk about it in the morning. You need to obey me and get in your bed or there will be a consequence.” And then I laughed because that kid…such. a. stinker.

Know this- I believe your child is in your family because that is what He planned. I don’t understand all of His plans and sometimes they seem completely opposite of what I would do, but I trust Him. I can rest without fear because I know that my kids are not really mine, they are His. I don’t have to live in fear that my kids won’t love me because I know that even if they don’t, their love isn’t what defines me. I can look at my kids someday and say “Life is just hard sometimes. I don’t have all the answers and I can’t heal your hurts, but I know the One who can.”

Have you had these moments with your kids? How have you handled it?

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

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“You’re not alone for I am here, let me wipe away your every tear, my love I’ve never left your side, I have seen you through the darkest night, and I’m the one who’s loved you all your life…”

In 2002, I sat at a table at Thanksgiving and I was not thankful. For anything. I desperately wanted a baby, and I felt like I was surrounded by pregnant women. My marriage was suffering, and I was most likely clinically depressed. I knew the right words to say at that table, the right things to say I was thankful for, and the peace faking smile was well-practiced. I felt exhausted, abandoned, and alone.

Deuteronomy 31:6- “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” 

Thank you Father for the valleys. Throughout pain and uncertainty, You have proven Yourself to be trustworthy. Thank you for teaching me that pain has a purpose. Thank you for holding onto me while I was kicking and screaming at you for what I thought was unfair.

The holidays can be wonderful. They can also be really painful. Somehow loss and hurt and unmet expectations seem magnified in the traditions and nostalgia of the holidays. For me, as I sat at the table, I saw the empty seats of the children I thought would have been there. I looked at Wes and saw the loving healthy relationship I thought I should have. My plans were dissolving before me.

Isaiah 55:8- “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine”

Thank you for not giving me what I wanted. Thank you for my children. Thank you for teaching me patience. Thank you for showing me over and over that You have a plan. (that needs no help from me!). Thank you for teaching me about your vastness, your sovereignty, your power. Thank you that today, I more consistently rest in this, knowing I can relax- You’ve got it.

This year, I sat at a table, and thought about what I am thankful for. My life isn’t perfect, in fact, this has been the hardest year for me. I’ve had multiple health problems. My marriage isn’t perfect. My kids have struggles and my adoption dreams have been interrupted. But my smile isn’t fake this year, and my heart isn’t hard. I still hurt- I still don’t understand. I still wish for things to be different. But thank you, Father, because the past hurts have led to today’s trust. I’m thankful for so much, but today I am especially thankful that You are SO good.

Psalm 28:7- “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

“The finger bone’s connected to the hand bone, the hand bone’s connected to the arm bone…”

Saturday afternoon, and Wes and I are finishing up a two-day garage sale. The kids are across the street at the park, playing on a huge bounce house that was set up for a birthday party. I am inside the house when Selah comes in and shows me her hand. She is calm, but her hand is very swollen and starting to bruise.  She explained that she slid down head first on the slide of the bounce house and ran into another child’s head.  One of Selah’s sensory issues is that she sometimes has a crazy high tolerance for pain, and just because she isn’t crying doesn’t mean she isn’t really hurt, so off to urgent care we went. While we waited for the doctor, the nurse came in to check her vitals and asked what was wrong. Selah replied “Something is wrong with my finger. I don’t know what it is, like maybe finger sickness. Like malaria.” After assuring her that there was a really good chance she did NOT have finger malaria, we walked down the hall for x-rays. He decided her pinky was broken and we waited to get a temporary cast….

Doctor- “Okay Selah, let’s get you set up with a cast”

Selah- (gasping)- “A cast?! But I won’t be able to write. I’m gonna have to learn to write with my other hand. I probably can’t take my spelling test.”

Doctor-(chuckling)- “Well, it’s not permanent, you’ll only have it a few weeks.”

Selah- “A few weeks?! I can’t go swimming??”

Me- “Honey, it’s too cold to go swimming.”

Selah- “Oh. (dejectedly) But now I can’t play the flute”

Doctor- (looking alarmed, as though he should have sent us to a flute players hand specialist)

Me-(shaking my head) “Nope. Doesn’t play the flute.”

Selah- “But I can swim later? When it gets warm? Because I wanted to practice for the Olympics! I have goals!”

Doctor- “Selah, the Olympics are very far away. I promise you will have your cast off by then.”

Selah- “Oh.”

Me- “Also baby, you have to learn how to swim.”

Selah- “Well I can’t. I have a cast.”

Selah got her temporary cast, and we left…

Selah- “Can we do something special now?”

Me- “Sure, what do you want to do?”

Selah- “Can we go ice skating?”

Me- “uh…no.”

Selah- “We should go buy me a new purse. I need one that doesn’t hit my broken arm so it doesn’t get injured more.”

Me- “It’s not your arm, it’s your pinky and why don’t you just not carry a purse?”

Selah(looking incredulously at me, as if I have proposed chopping the offending finger off)- “Where will I keep my stuff?”

Me- “What stuff?”

Selah- “like my pencils and my letters to people.”

Me- “You write letters to people?”

Selah- “Yes, every day I write to my friends and give them letters.”

Me(slightly nervous)- “What kinds of things do you write to them?”

Selah- “Like about my bible and what I learn and do they know Jesus and can they play the flute and…”

Me- “do you do this during school?”

Selah- “…and that I love them and do they listen to Taylor Swift and stuff like that.”

Me- “Hmm. Well, okay then.”

Selah- “Mommy, I don’t think I can shower now. I am going to smell so gross”

Me- “Selah. You can shower. I will just need to help you. And NO ballet in the shower!”

Selah-(sighing)- “That is so boring.”

Me- “Sorry.”

Selah- “Can we go get ice cream? Or maybe go to the store and get my pudding?”

Me- “Why do you need pudding?”

Selah- “I can only eat soft stuff like mashed potatoes and ice cream and pudding.”

Me- “Selah. Josiah did that when he had surgery to get his tonsils out. There is nothing wrong with your throat.”

Selah- “It feels kind of scratchy, like there is spikes in it”

Me- “I’m pretty sure you are fine.”

Selah- “Maybe I have a parasite”

Me- “You don’t have a parasite.”

Selah- “Maybe when you break your arm-”

Me- “pinky-”

Selah-“Right. pinky. Maybe when you break everything, you get a parasite”

Me- “That’s not how parasites work honey”

Selah- “Did you ever have a parasite?”

Me- “Not that I’m aware of. But you don’t get a parasite from breaking your pinky.”

Selah- “What if you break your arm?”

Me- “But you didn’t break your arm. But not then either.”

Selah- “Can we go to the pet store?”

Me- “Sure. But no pets, okay? We are not buying anything, we are just going to look at the animals, okay? Okay Selah?”

Selah- “Mm-hm”

We came home with Blueberry, the betta fish. Hopefully he won’t get a parasite.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

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“You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…”

Hey guys- in the last three days we’ve had asthma, a broken finger, stomach virus, garage sales, a burned hand, and getting packed to move in two weeks.  Blogging had to take a backseat but I hope to be able to get back to posting on my regular schedule this week.

“Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette, puff, puff, puff, and if you smoke yourself to death, tell St. Peter at the golden gate, that you hates to make him wait, but you just gotta have another cigarette…”

When I think about Veteran’s Day, I think about the brave men and woman who risked their lives to secure our freedom and keep our country safe. However, I am quite sure that there is one freedom that should not be free. An act so repulsive and violating that it ought to have an immediate penalty, such as being forced to memorize the names of the men Taylor Swift has dated or listen to hours upon hours of Nancy Grace. This heinous act is smoking. You want to smoke at your house? Fine, have fun with your cancer sticks. But when you smoke three feet from my child, you will get unapologetic glaring from me.  Aside from the fact that smoke gives me a wicked headache, I have an asthmatic child and also smoking is stupid.

I truly have sympathy for the addiction aspect of smoking, but I also think if you are so addicted that you can’t handle a few hours out in public without lighting up, you probably should be concerned about that.  We’ve talked to the kids about smoking (along with other coping devices), but Selah has especially latched onto the idea of smoking being bad for you, and she isn’t especially shy about sharing this knowledge with others.  I know this comes as a shock.  The first time I realized that this was an issue for her was when she was four and she and I were walking across a parking lot towards a doctor’s office. We were there to see a new doctor that we had not seen before. Selah spotted some doctors across the parking lot, standing in a group and smoking. All of a sudden, she looked at them and screamed “SOMEONE is not taking care of their BODY!”  And of course, when the doctor walked into the room, I recognized him as the object of Selah’s chastisement.

A few months after that, Selah and I walked into our local CVS to pick up some medicine. We sat in the waiting area, and after a few minutes, a rather large biker sat down next to us. You have to picture this leather clad man, buzz cut and “pain is forever” tattooed on his neck sitting six inches from a tiny blonde girl wearing a pink ballerina dress and eyeing him curiously. Biker Man takes out a pack of smokes and taps on the end…

Selah(eyes wide)- “Ew. Those are bad for you and they taste GROSS.”

Biker Man(gruffly)- “How do you know, kid?”

Selah- “I know because they smell bad!”

Biker Man -“Well, maybe some things smell bad but taste good. Ya think of that?”

Me-oh man, sir, you just opened the floodgates because now she assumes y’all are friends and you asked for her opinion and invited her to think about this and this could go south really quickly…

Selah(looking thoughtful)- “Yeah! Like sushi or really stinky cheese. Those ARE really good!”

Biker Man (glancing at me a bit smugly, as though proud that he has opened her mind to the possibility that smoking might not be as bad as she has been taught by The Man)

Selah- “OH! Also reindeer blood”

Biker Man’s demeanor changes as he registers what she has said about Rudolph. He looks me over, trying to determine just what kind of badass mom I am. Am I a special kind of hunter? Am I in some cult that opposes Santa to the extreme of gunning down poor innocent baby deer? Am I part of the Cullens? (Team Edward, for the record) Or am I totally normal and he’s encountered a child more sinister that he thought possible. Which is it, Biker Man? You want to take a chance? Well do you, punk?

Me- “yeah uh…see…her dad lets her watch Man vs Wild and he drinks reindeer…yeah, it was pretty weird…okay, I think it’s time to go”

Selah- “but we didn’t get our medicine”

Me-  “we don’t really need it, come on honey…”

So you better believe that this weekend when we sat at a table and the people next to us starting smoking, I tried to distract her. I think we ended up talking about reindeer blood.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on Twitter @brandyb77

Have a product or service you’d like featured for a giveaway? Email me!

Mama Mondays- “Two months is too little, they let him go, they had no sudden healing…”

I think one of the best things we can teach our kids is compassion and wisdom in caring for others. This week’s question isn’t really about parenting per say, but I think it’s an important one.

“How can I support my friend who has tried to get pregnant for three years and just had a miscarriage?”

First of all, let me just say thank you for caring enough to even ask the question. When suffering of any kind happens, one of the most painful things is for the friends around you to act like nothing has happened.  And yet, for the friend, there is a feeling of helplessness that can lead to silence for fear of saying the wrong thing or fear of not knowing what to say.  When Wes and I found out about our inability to have biological kids, we were shocked. Looking back, I think we were able to grieve the loss of biological kids pretty quickly (as neither one of us held tightly to that desire), but we grieved the loss of control, the loss of pregnancy, the loss of the experience. We were quite young when we found out (21 years old), and only had a very small group of friends who were married. We were also attending a small church where Wes was on staff, and at that time, it was a culture that wasn’t a safe place to talk about struggles.  I couldn’t walk into that church and speak about how angry or sad or frustrated I was, and so our grief was extended. We knew one couple that were our age and had one child, and they became a huge source of support for us, but apart from that, no one really knew what was going on. At times it felt like I was drowning but not allowed to scream for help, or walking around with a gunshot wound to the chest and desperately trying to hide it.  So what can you do?

Pray– if nothing else, do this. Pray for comfort and that they will trust in His love for them, even through pain. Pray that the pain and suffering will cause others to understand who He is. Pray for yourself, that you will be the hands and feet of Jesus to them. Pray in thanks that He knows all of our pain, He is not apathetic to it, and He has a purpose and plan for it.

Be there– it’s simple, but it’s so often overlooked. Sometimes miscarriage isn’t seen as a “real” death, and so it is glossed over as “one of those things” that just happen. It is true, miscarriage IS common, but it’s commonality doesn’t diminish it’s pain. So treat this the same way you’d treat the death of an infant. Offer to bring a meal, send flowers, give the couple a hug. No big speeches are needed! Just saying ” I’m so sorry for your loss, and I love you and am praying for you” is perfect.

Resist the urge to fix it– men get a bad rap for trying to fix things when really all we want is to vent. While this stereotype is probably mostly true, the fact is, we women can be just as quick to fix. I think men try to fix because they tend to see things from a problem and solution perspective, but I think women try to fix things because we hate seeing someone we love in pain. The problem is that infertility and miscarriage are wounds. There is no quick fix. There is no magical words, no spiritual lesson, no book, no new doctor or alternative treatment, no pithy statement that will take away that pain, and in fact, those things can sometimes feel like knives being pressed into a tender wound. Don’t assume your experience with miscarriage or infertility is like theirs. Be the friend that says “Your pain doesn’t freak me out and it doesn’t scare me away. I will cry for you and with you, for as long as you need me to.”

Educate yourself– Taking a vacation and/relaxing doesn’t cure infertility. Most women don’t get pregnant after they adopt. Having a miscarriage doesn’t always mean there was “something wrong” with the baby. You don’t know everything will be fine. People speak in clichés because they don’t know better, so be better than that. Advising someone to relax to fix their infertility implies that their inability to get pregnant or stay pregnant is somehow their fault. Telling a women she will probably get pregnant after she adopts implies that adoption is some kind of consolation prize, and that the real prize of a biological child is coming. We don’t know why miscarriages happen sometimes, and really, it doesn’t matter. It just hurts. Telling someone “I’m sure everything is going to be fine” is incredibly dismissive. The fact is, it’s not fine right then. It might not be fine for a long time. Be the friend that says “I don’t know what is going to happen, but I do know that He loves you, I love you and I am here for you.”

Pay attention– what I mean is, pray for sensitivity to your friend’s needs, and don’t be afraid to ask. The friend who has just had a miscarriage or is going through years of infertility may be sensitive to certain things, and a good friend can help with that. For me, baby showers were difficult. Baby stores were near torture. Walking by the church nursery felt like a dagger. This isn’t to say don’t invite your friends in these situations, but be sensitive and understanding if they choose to not come. Don’t joke with them about how they can have your kids when your kids are disobeying. (ugh seriously. Just don’t.) One of the sweetest things a friend did for me after my second loss was ask me before a girls night out “Is this a time you would like to talk about kid stuff or not talk about kid stuff?”

Give yourself grace– Fifteen years and three kids later, I still say stupid insensitive things. Don’t let your fear of saying or doing the wrong thing lead you to saying or doing nothing. One of the most painful aspects of infertility and loss for me was not knowing how to deal with others who never talked about it, never asked about it, never acknowledged the losses. Truthfully, while there has been forgiveness, the damage of that in those relationships has been long-lasting.  Be willing to mess up and ask for forgiveness.

Fifteen years ago, you could not have told me that this pain would grow into compassion for other women, and that I would call our infertility a blessing. And if you are in the middle of it, hearing it called a blessing might sound crazy to you, and that’s okay. I still mourn the children I lost, even if no one else does. There are aspects of infertility that still affect me now with sadness. But I would not trade the ministry opportunities the Lord has allowed me to participate in because of what we have gone through. I would not trade the three gorgeous babies I have, nor the ones I hope to adopt in the future. Make no mistake, we can waste pain but He never does.

Have a question or subject for Mama Mondays? Email me at brandy.followingbutterflies@yahoo.com

Follow me on the Twitter @brandyb77

Have a product or service you’d like featured in a giveaway? Email me!

IMPORTANT-  if you email me a question for Mama Mondays, I promise I will get to it! I have gotten more response to this than I thought I would, so please be patient if I haven’t gotten to your question yet. Secondly, if you email me about your product either for a giveaway or wanting to advertise, please know I reserve the right to accept or decline. While I hope I have a wide variety of readers from all walks of life, I also need to feel as though what I am offering is consistent with my beliefs, and that includes what I would use for a giveaway or advertise on my site. My goal in giveaways is to help others with their own businesses to gain exposure to a wider audience, and to be able to bless others, and I can’t fulfill that goal if I am giving away something that I wouldn’t allow in my own home. I would be happy to answer any questions about that, please just email me. Thank you!

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