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I’m a little dismayed at how my last post (immigration and food politics) was derailed by the topic of abortion. However, all the big issues are intertwined and I’m sure we could find a link between abortion, food politics and immigration if we tried. All the comments, as well as another thread elsewhere, and my ‘at home’ reading got me thinking again about when ‘life begins.’

Two years ago I spent two days discussing abortion with tenth grade boys in a Catholic high school in California. It was a great experience – for everyone I think. I was 5 months pregnant at the time. In my preparation for the presentation I came across many differing ideas about when life begins. I think the discourse around this needs to be changed from ‘life’ to ‘personhood’, because we are not debating life, we are debating what makes a clump of cells – indisputably alive! - a sentient human entity. If life is what the abortion debate is about then the life of dividing cells, the life of a person-shaped squidlet with spine, eyes, heart and brain clump, is given a lot of weight and other creatures with similar characteristics need to be given the same consideration. This means no animal testing of any kind – rats and monkeys are easily more advanced beings than a fetus at 12 or 20 weeks gestation. This means that eating meat is murder of advanced forms of life. There are many anti-abortion* advocates who are vegetarians, but as a whole the movement needs to address the fact that what we are debating is personhood.

Personhood is more than about whether or not something is alive. Cancer cells are ‘alive,’ mosquitos are alive, that spider you squashed is alive, that chicken is alive. We are talking about placing a priority on human sentience. Now sentience is more than intelligence because I am not suggesting in any way, shape or form that the less intelligent, the developmentally disabled, the infirm, the insane, etc are less than human. So what exactly does being human mean? I would like to see the anti-abortion advocates address this issue. Is it potential for human life? In that case, male masturbation, female menstruation, birth control methods, and any sex that is not intended to procreate are hindering the potential for human life. (Hey! That’s the Roman Catholic position! At least they are consistent.) What about miscarriages? Approximately 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage – often women just experience a heavier period, not knowing that the egg had in fact been fertilized. What do we say to those women?** ‘Potential’ is such a tricky word.

Personhood is about more than ability or potential. Whatever definition of personhood we choose says something about what we believe about humanity and its/our role in the greater picture. Many theologians who delve into this issue of personhood (theological anthropology – an area I love) talk about dignity, particularly the Catholic theologians. I think this is also a murky word. If Catholics and Evangelical and other forms of Protestants (though, again, not all) believe that life begins at conception (a belief that is enabled by modern science!) what do others believe?

Muslims (broadly, as with any large group there are bound to be many exceptions) tend to see personhood as beginning at the first sign of quickening (the first movement felt by the mother). According to David Abrams in The Spell of the Sensuous, Australian Aboriginal cultures believe that the spirit of the baby is inserted into the womb at the first quickening as well. What’s interesting is that this is usually between the 4th and 5th month of pregnancy – after the risk of miscarriage, once pregnancy has firmly taken root. This makes so much sense to me. Some Jewish traditions do not consider the baby a person until its head is outside the womb. Until that moment it has the potential (that word again!) for personhood but isn’t considered a full member of humanity until it is born.

This makes sense in a less scientific world, with less advanced medical care. So why shouldn’t we advance our standards with science? Because I don’t think our lived human experience aligns with that of science. So we can now see a baby-shaped squidlet at 8 weeks. I admit, seeing that is deeply mysterious and profound. But it is a disembodied experience: my mostly still flat belly is rubbed around with a cold instrument (or at this early stage a desexualized dildo is inserted) that produces a blurry black and white digital image. But I still can’t feel the baby. It is still experientially abstract. Our brains know, but our lived experience doesn’t. Women still miscarry – something that is considered shameful. The older I get the more I realize how many women have miscarried and how few of them speak about it. Obviously there is something shameful about this experience if we cannot speak openly about it and comfort one another.


*I have just decided to quit using the term pro-life because I think it is a misnomer. The issue isn’t life – it’s personhood. Most ‘pro-life’ advocates eat meat and are in favor of the death penalty, both of these would fall under ‘against life’ in my logic. ‘Anti-abortion’ states clearly what the group is about. Pro-choice however is more an accurate fit as it indicates that this group is in favor of… choice. I personally would never choose to abort and I feel that I share some of the reasons and emotions of the anti-abortionists, but I believe very strongly in defending this choice.

**I would be really really sad if I thought I was pregnant and miscarried. Those who are trying to have a baby are (usually) saddened no matter when the miscarriage occurs – 3 weeks or 13 weeks. But miscarriages happen for all sorts of reasons, usually ones that do in fact support life. I firmly believe that life wants to perpetuate itself so if a pregnancy miscarries there is most likely a very good natural reason for it.
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Life seems to be a bit of a see-saw daily. I think it's because I'm PMSing. Adam thinks I'm pregnant - as he has for the last four months. I told him if he was wrong this month I'd never listen to him again! I'm sooper sensitive, quite tired, and a little fuzzy brained. Could be because for school I'm reading about suffering. Shoot me now. Standard Christian writing on suffering is some of the most awful theology out there. Thankfully, I started reading Dorothee Soelle's little book (called 'Suffering') and while it too is depressing, she and I are at least on the same page. No sado-masochism for us, thank you very much!

Study sessions have been laborious and tedious lately. I'm also supposed to be going to greater London at the beginning of May - going to Roehampton to meet Tina Beattie and see the school, find out about transferring, etc. I am oddly daunted at the task of finding transportation there. There are multiple ways to get there, but all involve at least three legs. UGH. I think I have to go into the heart of London and then get the tube back out of the appropriate suburb. This feels overwhelming right now.

In happier, little daily gems... Yesterday was full of great food: breakfast was perhaps the best omellette I've ever made (the eggs were perfection, plus goat cheese, green onion and zucchini) and dinner was poached haddock (enh) with an excellent easy lentil/cherry tomato/feta salad, with a glass of white wine. Tonight we're having shrimp (Welsh caught!) and corn chowder with crusty bread and green salad, and white wine.

Also yesterday I found two gems at a charity shop. A little book for B, How Do You Feel?. It looked brand new and B LOVES. IT. In less than 24 hours it's been read 10 times. At least. It's about feelings and it's super cute. I love that there's a peacock that feels proud! Pride too often gets confused for arrogance (as compassion does for pity). And there's a goat that feels naughty. Adorable.

For me, I found Nigella Lawson's Feast. Hardcover, decent (if well used) condition, for one pound fifty. !! It makes me want to throw a party. I'm very excited to have a source of culinary inspiration.

Happiness

Apr. 15th, 2010 01:29 pm
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The other night Adam and I started gleefully giggling. We had just crawled into bed (well, me into bed and him onto the air mattress on the floor) and I said in a whisper "Every day here is like a vacation." That phrase sunk in and we laughed with joy. It's true! I'm not sure we've ever been happier. It's not like this place is exciting. Honestly, it's pretty damn dull. The only museum is a Welsh quilt museum. No cinema or theatre, no bands, only a small handful of restaurants to eat at if you want to go out for dinner (and really only two if you want to eat good food). But since we have a small child those things don't matter. There's nothing to spend money on here, so we can live frugally. Adam really only has to work part-time hours for us to pay our bills (though more money and work is always a good thing!). Adam loves what he does. I love what I do. We both get ample time with Bennett. It's clean and fresh and safe. We are outside all the time. The people here are friendly and things move at much slower pace than the city. The fact that we get to do what we love, that's there no rush: it's really truly like a vacation every single day.

And it's getting EVEN MORE so, since Bennett is night weaned. Last night was night 5 and he slept through the night. I discount to the two quiet requests for water. No nightmarish freakouts like the previous nights. No trying to nurse. He just slept, curled up tight in the crook of my arm, one hand on a boob at all times, but hey! It's a victory! It has had unintended consequences: I think it has sped up his daytime weaning. That's not a bad thing. As much as I'll miss the intimacy of it, it feels like it's time. My guess? By his second birthday (end of May) he'll be done. And to think: when I was pregnant I thought extended nursing was weird.

I wonder if this is contributing to my fading urge to get pregnant. I don't know if it's the return of more bodily autonomy, more sleep, or the fact that spring is here and I want to get moving, that has nulled the ovarian cry for another baby. I definitely want another child. If I was pregnant I wouldn't be sad. But I'm not in a rush anymore. I'm also losing weight. The jiggly tummy fat seems pretty damn permanent, but in general I'm getting more exercise and I'm almost back into my smallest pair of pants. Which means I need yet more pants. SIGH. It would be nice to have at least a few months of a fit, relatively svelte body again before I go back to work that is being pregnant. There are a few ladies that I interact with in town that are pregnant and I've been watching them swell. I'm so short that I just look like an oompa-loompa when I'm pregnant. My already substantial boobs grew to an enormous size. That I do not miss!
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Bennett's communication is exploding. In the last 24 hours he has said, in context: home, house, car, cook, up, pup, hop (thanks Dr Seuss!). Continuing favorite words are: hot, mama, uh-oh, and 'go go go go' - yes, four in a row. He has signed poop, sad, bath. His empathy is also expanding. He gets sad when others do, he was concerned for Elliott Cat because Schmell has a bad sore, and he's running around giving hugs. Adam has started playing a strictly vocal version of Marco Polo - Adam says Marco and Bennett responds 'pogo.' So cute.

ETA: I forget that he also says cocoa and coch (red in Welsh). And this morning he said poop!

I'm reading The Politics of Breastfeeding as my 'at home' book. It's full of fascinating information, nothing which surprises me all that much. It has cemented my already pretty firm belief that formula is nasty shit and that boobies are amazing. But there's something about the book that is off putting. It's her tone. I can't quite put my finger on it, but perhaps that's because I only have ten minute chunks of time to read. I think her book is not going to win any converts. If I was a mother who had problems breastfeeding and I wanted to try again, this is not the book I'd recommend. Basically, if you've ever used formula I think her tone and content could make you feel like shit.

What I'm walking away with, though, is how freaking amazing human bodies are. First, like I said, boobies are incredible. We make a perfect food, it's regulated in just the right make up and just the right amounts; it cannot be replicated. But even though formula is sketchy stuff, humans can thrive! Hell, we are what we eat - literally - and Americans eat high fructose corn syrup by the truck loads and some how don't keel over dead from it. I would never drink martinis and smoke while pregnant, but millions of mothers did in the middle 20th century and their babies turned out fine. We are incredible, hardy creatures.
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Women say some rape victims should take the blame

WHAT? I don't even need to read this entire article to know that women have internalized the hateful misogony of the patriarchy and suffer from self-loathing ideology. Why do women hate each other like this? Rape is NEVER the victim's fault. Even if you're comatose from drinking or you're walking naked down the street. Women make loads of stupid decisions all the time. And there are other consequences of the above actions: alcohol poisoning and the flu, perhaps. But rape? It is not a man's duty to 'punish' me for my stupid actions. Women and men may judge women who make stupid choices and think 'they got what they deserved', but that's not what it is about is it? No. It's about men thinking women are sex objects, that any woman who is passive enough is theirs for taking, that women are sub-human and do not have the dignity that men have. In cases of rape the blame is ALWAYS on the assailant. It is the perpetrator who cannot keep his hands (and other bits) to himself. It is HIS lack of self-control and his lack of honor for other living creatures.

I was date raped when I was 20. I take responsibility for my stupidness. I acknowledge that I was weak and had poor boundaries. I did not report it because it was so.... murky. I was up for fooling around. I was not up for sex. I said no. He didn't listen. We were in my bed. Am I to blame? If you say yes, defriend me right now.

Ouch

Feb. 14th, 2010 08:26 pm
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Today at church I got hit by lightning. Ok. Not really, but it felt like that. I got a *piercing* headache in the left front lobe of my brain that felt like I had been lashed. It's been coming and going in the same spot off and on all day. Not as severe, but it's pretty bad. I didn't think I was that stressed out.
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Things what are on my mind lately:

Bennett. We are definitely entering into uncharted territory here. Teething? Just hitting the 'terrible twos*'? After two good nights of sleep he was up from 3-5am, generally unhappy. He's cried a TON this morning already and if he sees me all he wants to do is nurse. He's really into repetition. We read the same 6 books over and over and he points out the same things over and over. But his attention span is wavering. He'll pick out a book and then halfway through go and grab another. It is intense these days.

Theology. Always theology. I had a whole post in mind last night, but I've lost it. Finding uninterrupted writing time at home while an idea is fresh in my head is nearly impossible. Thankfully B is sucked into a basketball game with Adam right now.

Food. We have been so poor lately that I've gotten very good at stretching meals and cooking healthy on the ultra-cheap. It's been great! Loads of veggies and grains. One chicken can last for 5 meals! But wow, have we been craving cheese and meat. I just ate a grilled cheese, bacon and spinach sandwich, with mayonnaise. Hell to the yeah. But it's not just fat I'm craving. I'm also craving tea and wine. I've given up tea, coffee and wine in my house for 'Lent'. Not when I'm at other people's places because tea is such a part of the social fabric here. And it's not just alcohol I miss, I miss California wine. In fact, I was laying in bed in the wee hours of the morning thinking about specific wines from specific vineyards that I miss.

Tomorrow though I'll get my food and wine fix. We are going to our friends' house (the people who own Town Hall Cafe). He is making ribs. I'm making my own refried beans and 7 layer dip. Hopefully they'll bring some of the stuffed peppers they sell in their deli - they are AMAZING and go beautifully with wine. We're going to watch the Super Bowl. Yes, a day late. Adam is hoping to download the game - with commercials! He (not Adam) is very into sports and She has no idea what the Super Bowl is all about. Should be really fun.

My body. I am missing exercise something fierce. I keep thinking about how fit I was before I had Bennett. Even while I was pregnant. I biked three miles to work every day (so I guess that's 6 miles total) up until I was 4 months pregnant. I was doing intense yoga up until the week B was born. I don't expect to get back to that level of fitness for the next pregnancy. I'd love to lose the stomach flab, but I'm pretty resigned to it. Short of giving up cheese and working out every day, neither thing interests me in the least, I don't think it's going to budge. I am back into my old jeans, but my body is different. Up until I had a baby I looked much younger than I am. Last week another mother assumed I was 24 or so. But the tired eyes, the growing grey streak, the stomach flab.... yeah, I'm not 24 anymore. And this stomach flab is what built Bennett. The flab isn't my favorite thing and I hate how it folds over my pants, but for the most part it's a badge of pride.


*Which I think is a misnomer. It's really not terrible so much as baffling. I feel worse for B most times than I do for myself! And he's not two, but then I've heard from some people that the months leading up to 2 are worse than 2 itself. We'll see.
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*One of the reasons I love Adam so much is that he makes me a better person. Often I hate this about him, but sometimes he knows my intentions better than I do. Tonight we were discussing the Twilight phenomenon. On Sunday, two people in the church choir I sing with, both students, were discussing the books and movies, and tried to engage me in conversation. I told them I needed to avoid talking about it, because I was sure to offend them with my loathing. Off the cuff I come across like I think everyone who loves the books and movies are stupid. And I suppose there is something in that gut reaction. I don't put much faith in the mass market.

But do you want to know why I really hate Twilight? What really makes me so upset? It's that millions of American women are swooning over a semi-abusive relationship and want to be Bella, who has no agency. Millions of American women think that this is as good as it gets. Millions of American women are selling themselves short. And it kills me.

*Entirely unrelated, Adam, Bennett and I watched Julie and Julia tonight. I am completely sucked into the charm of Julia Child. I want to cook! Fancy French dishes! I want to try meringues! Boning a duck! I want to eat delicious food and drink excellent wine.

Adam and I are also contemplating working our way through Meryl Streep's oeuvre. Adam looked at me tonight and said "I'm totally gay for Meryl." I think I might be too.

*It is cold here. The heat is on and we're still chilly. It's been clear the last two days and nights. I hope it lasts for the next few days. The moon is nearly full and it's so beautiful. I can actually see stars here.

*Even though the doctor's have told me twice that my ears and throat look perfectly healthy, my left ear still hurts when I swallow. And it waxes and wanes through the day. I don't understand. I really hope it's not psychosomatic.
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STILL SICK. 4th week, 3rd virus. Now manifested in my right ear canal. Possible ear infection? Bennett has a bit of a cold and a blood shot eye. Conjunctivitis? Nothing boobie milk can't cure! I did indeed squirt breast milk into his eye. If it doesn't clear up by Monday we're both going to the doctor.

Today two American friends of ours, Adam's best friend and his wife, are coming to visit us. They now live in London and we're having a makeshift Thanksgiving. Adam is going to make his gourmet turkey sandwiches. Our friends are bringing home made cranberry sauce, and a tofurkey and pumpkin pie from the Wholefoods in London. I'm making mashed potatoes and garlicky salad and stuffing. Speaking of stuffing, all I have are two pounds of breadcrumbs. Can anyone recommend a vegetarian stuffing recipe?

So what am I thankful for? Free health care, an awesome partner, the greatest little boy ever, a warm home, few distractions, peace, the dark, new flannel sheets, friends coming to visit.

Bah humbug

Nov. 17th, 2009 10:03 am
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SO SICK OF BEING SICK.

Cannot deal. Bennett is as healthy and as active as we would hope an 18 month old would be. But I sure as hell cannot keep up. And clearly not doing anything hasn't gotten me better so I'm just going to have to get back to work and muddle through.

Fucking fuckety fuck.

But before I attend to Things, I shall go have a pout in the corner.
Feh.
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It's not so much that I've been *sick* but more that I've been really run down. Of course we've been under a ton of stress. We've only been here for 8 weeks and 'settled' for less than that. We've got a kid. We're adjusting to new germs. Blahdibah. But being run down, with kid, plus a sinus cold, and now - yep, let's add one more thing on to the pile! I have a blocked duct (more than one?) in my right boob. Given how run down I am and how fast it's getting worse it could turn into mastitis at any moment. FUCK. You know what the remedy for this is? Bed rest and nursing like a mofo.

Dissertation? Paper? Maybe Bennett, with his infinite energy, could write those for me. Guess I should teach him to read....
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I had the STRONGEST craving for chicken tonight. I ate my weight in lamb ragu last night. I think my period is coming. I'm craving meat and high calorie foods.

Lately, I've also wanted a really good cup of coffee. That's not easy to come by here.

Bennett's been running around diaper-less a lot lately. He's got the best bum ever.

All the pictures of babies on my flist is only the fanning the flames of my womb. Infants are such hard work! And they take it out of a woman! Literally and figuratively. But my uterus sabotages me at every turn!
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I just finished watching the two part interview with Mike Huckabee on The Daily Show. While I don't want him to be president and I don't quite agree with the way he framed his perspective on pro-life, I have to say that I really love Gov. Huckabee. No really, I do. I think he is thoughtful, articulate, patient, slow to inflame and has a great sense of humor. While no new ground was covered in this interview (which was all about pro-life), it's a great example that not all pro-lifers or Public Christians or politicians or Republicans etc etc are nutjobs.

Mike Huckabee can come have dinner at my house any day of the week.


....and Bennett just dumped out a box of matches. Whee!
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I am applying to be an Adopt-a-Mom breastfeeding mentor. It's a community on LJ that pairs up experienced mamas with new mamas in an effort to support them. My aam, [livejournal.com profile] said_by_me, was incredibly patient and supportive of me during a time where I felt overwhelmed and uncertain. Part of the requirement is that I publicly post my breastfeeding story.

Cut for those who don't care! )
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This opera seems to be on everyone's list of favorites and now I know why! I was very familiar with the music from Act One, but the entire opera is filled with beautiful music and wonderfully lyric arias. While the songs are rich, the entire opera is character driven and the accompaniment never overwhelms the singing, nor do the ensemble pieces ever intrude on the characters. I love the ensemble music, but I almost feel as though Verdi included them because he felt he had to.

This particular production was pretty but also annoying. In the first act all the women are dressed in white (representing innocence perhaps?). The dresses were gorgeous but all blended in together. Even from the back of the hall I could hear the beads on the dresses moving about. The same thing occurred in the second act, when all the women are dressed in black. I wish there was variation so I could appreciate the exquisite costumes. The second act had one awkward and long scene change. I disliked the black and purple and stupid spider web theme. It was ugly and heavy handed. Plus, the dancing was weird. Don't try to do the charleston to symphonic music.

The singing was superb. Anna Netrebko was excellent. In the standing room line a lady said that Ms. Netrebko had gotten fat. Actually, she had a baby 9 months ago! I thought she looked gorgeous (as usual), but yes, she did have the tell-tale stomach pooch. I recognize it and felt more than a little vindicated that I am not the only one who still has The Pooch. Figure aside, her voice was huge, her acting excellent, and she was a delight to hear in this role. The adorable man next to me (78 years old! Telling me stories of seeing the opera in 1942!) kept gushing about her during applause. I liked her very much, but at one point I felt like leaning over to him and saying "Yes, but she's no Ruth Ann Swenson."

The lead gentlemen, Charles Castronovo and Dwayne Croft, were also excellent. Castronovo was muted in comparison to Netrebko, but his voice was creamy and sounded easy and grounded. Croft's voice was excellent, despite the announcement at the beginning that he was recovering from a sinus infection and he asked for our patience. My immediate reactions upon hearing him sing was "Yeah right!" and that he had broken the only rule of Feast Bay - no excuses!

Dr. Tiller

Jun. 2nd, 2009 08:16 pm
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I'm having a hard time with Dr. Tiller's murder. I have missed it on the news cycles, thankfully, but it is all over the internet. Having built and birthed my own child I am more sensitive to this issue than I was 2 years ago. I have heard from thoughtful, though dogmatic, individuals that a person cannot be both pro-life and pro-choice, but I think these politicized terms are a false dichotomy. I claim both. Maybe out of a desire to piss off each side. I hate the abortion debate with the power of a thousand white hot suns. It in no way addresses the issues at hand. Yes, abortion is killing the unborn. But an eight week old fetus is not the same entity as a 29 week baby. If you mourn the passing of a first trimester fetus, then I think you ought to be vegetarian. Squid are more intelligent than a fetus. If it's the potential for human life you are concerned for, then why aren't you doing more to support the lives that exist here and now? Approximately 25% of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry in the first trimester. Are these women murderers or culpable in some way?

And yet, I would weep if one of my close friends chose to abort. I have had a good friend, pregnant, wonder if she should keep her baby, and I have talked with Adam about offering to adopt the baby if she would consent to carry it to term.

Abortion sucks. It is something that I wish no woman ever had to choose. Sure, there are some stupid women out there who are careless and use it as birth control. Sure. But I'll take them as collateral damage to protect the rights of women who are raped, who have no health insurance and are told their child will have severe disabilities, whose partners are abusive and know that her home is no place for a child, who are starting out in life and are partnerless, who didn't have access to birth control to begin with.

There are plenty of professions I don't agree with, plenty of individuals whose morals and choices disgust me. Do I think they deserve to die? No, I do not. Those who rejoice in Dr. Tiller's murder are misguided and cruel. They are as cruel as the man they claimed deserve to die.

ETA: Because of the murder issue, I am coming down hard on the "pro-life" side of things, but I also am not a fan of the "pro-choice" side of politics. When NOW or other sorts of "feminist" organizations start branching out and doing more for women's health in general then perhaps I'll be inclined to give them money. Women's health includes more than just the right to abort. It includes advocating for pre- and post-natal care for women, it involves pressing for the rights of midwives and homebirth, it involves working for access to birth control and education. Etcetera.
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I can tell I'm fertile again. My uterus has that feeling, a certain twitch, that says "Fill me! I MUST MATE!"

It's quite odd. More than a little disconcerting.

In other news, Bennett ate his first mouthful of cat food today.
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Being a mother is the most amazing thing I've ever done. Hands down. It is the most clarifying and creative thing I've ever undertaken. From conception up to this very moment, the mysteries of the universe unfold just a bit more for me than before I chose to become a mother.

I use the words choice and choose deliberately. For a woman being a mother is not inevitability. It is something I am grateful that I've been able to choose and I wish this choice, this ability to choose, for every woman. I wish that every woman had the knowledge, self possession, and support to say yes or no to motherhood. Motherhood is chaos. Motherhood is change. Motherhood is life and death in each moment. It is vibrancy and exhaustion, selfishness and selflessness. It is completely irrational and insane, and therefore it is the most powerful thing I've ever experienced. It is pure love - and that power is dangerous.

To my mama friends, happy mother's day! May your family bring you joy that surpasses understanding. To those ladies trying to become mothers, may the seed bloom when the time is right (as if there is ever a "right" time to embrace chaos!). To those who don't choose motherhood, may you support the mothers in your world.

To life!
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My posts used to be so much more poetic before I got pregnant and had a child. I think I've become complacent here.

Boot camp fitness assessment this morning:
12 regular push ups, 17 modified*
19 "sit ups" - only about 3 that really count
10:44 for the mile run

Much better than I expected of myself for the push ups and the run; about what I expected for the sit ups.
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We have a rental car for a work event this weekend. After a surprisingly satisfying short day of work Adam suggested we go for a hike at Tilden in the hills. BEST IDEA EVER. Bennett was soaking it all in and then fell asleep. Adam and I walked for about an hour, having some of the best conversation we've had in a while. We saw a couple of snakes - black with orange bellies. We held one - it was amazing. I think that was only the second snake I've ever touched. Do snakes have pheromones? Because afterward our hands smelled like ass.

Later that night Bennett waved in context for the first time. Both initiated it and as a response. I woke up in the night to him practicing it too.

And, 11 months to the day after Bennett's birth, my menses returned.

Today we are planning Bennett's first birthday party. Wow! We thought about postponing it to celebrate the day of his homecoming, but I think we'll just have second celebration of just us for that. I'm debating whether or not to have cake. The only thing that Bennett has had with sugar is some high quality pomegranate yoghurt. I'm not keen on filling him with refined flour and sugar just yet. But I know it has to happen sometime.

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