Measuring the true cost of Infertility, becoming pregnant, babies, trying to conceive

Measuring the True Cost of Infertiliy

My personal essay, Measuring the True Cost of Infertility, came out on the parenting magazine Parent.co.

Writing this piece took weeks. I wanted to make sure that I was as honest as I could be about my experience trying to conceive.

The reason I wrote Measuring the True Cost of Infertility was for other men and women who are currently experiencing this struggle to know that they are not alone. I also wanted people to understand that infertility has many costs that are hard to qualify. Infertility affects you emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially.

Measuring the True Cost of Infertility excerpt:  As a young adult, I lived in fear of pregnancy. In the small town where I’m from, enough girls became pregnant in high school that the saying “it’s in the water” wasn’t just a funny joke. Way before I became sexually active I knew having a baby young changed your life choices. I had ambitions. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to travel the world. I also believed I could have children later in life. My father had a friend who had a baby at 40. Her success left quite an impression on my twelve-year-old self. If she could do it, so could I.

My infertility journey began after a miscarriage in my late 30s. I took the loss hard but thought becoming pregnant again would be easy. When getting pregnant didn’t happen right away, I became obsessed. Each day that passed I became even more determined, yet alone. It seemed that everyone around me was darting down the path of parenthood without a glitch. When someone I knew became pregnant, I would casually ask how long it took to conceive. The answer was always, “we got pregnant on our first try.” These conversations made me feel as if I was the only one deficient, old, and barren. I remember interviewing for a promotion at work and not getting the job. The co-worker who got the promotion was pregnant. The heaviness of failure consumed me.

Read the rest of the article and share it with friends and family.

I would love your feedback. Have you ever experienced infertility? Have you ever known someone who has? 

Remember to join our newsletter to receive your FREE  Lose the Baby Weight Fast Guide. My son was conceived through the IVF process. I gained over 50 pounds. I then lost all the weight. Less than one year later, I became so healthy that I conceived naturally.

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Check out some other great posts about raising a twonager or how to write with a kid underfoot.

 

How to write with a kid underfoot / Motherhood hacks / Moms Write too

How to Write with a Kid Underfoot

With summer upon us, it seemed like a perfect time to share how to write with a kid “underfoot”. As a part-time work-from-home mom, I get so much done during the school year but when summer comes around it can feel like all bets are off.

First off, I admit that I spend less time playing with Legos, than my kiddo would like. I also repeat the phrase, “just give me five more minutes” frequently.

While entranced by Pokémon or some other insufferable cartoon I’m able to get a few more words in. In these moments, diverting my attention to a new activity (writing) saves my sanity.

And finally, at the end of the day, there is that glorious time from 7:30-10:00 p.m. after my son has gone off to dream town when I can watch Modern Family or write. Truth: Occasionally T.V. wins. Sometimes having kept my kid fed, clothed and alive for another day is enough and writing will have to wait for another day.

The good news is that my son has now been well trained. He knows that after a long morning of being “present” with him at the duck-park, indoor play gym or library, I may try to write.

Another thing that helps me is that I’m not a perfectionist. Nothing I do is perfect but it seems to be good enough. I write in run-on sentences and don’t edit enough in first drafts. But if Anne Lamott thinks a bad first draft is okay that’s good enough for me. Sometimes I start sentences with But and And, use clichés while throwing caution to the wind.

As we speak, my son is pulling out my laptop power cord. Is he trying to tell me something? He must need a refill of Goldfish crackers.

The end goal is that I’m trying to teach my kiddo that Mommy needs time for stuff she thinks is fun, too. As much as I loved those inflatable slides at Pump it Up Junior, I find writing much more satisfying.

Here is a quick action plan for you writer moms who need to know how to write with a kid underfoot:

How to find time to write / Motherhood hacks / Moms Write too

  1. Write During Nap Time.

    It seems like a no-brainer but the time flies and it might be used up with silly tasks like housekeeping or laundry. If your kid is too old for naps you can make them have a one hour “quiet time” where they have to play in their room or outside. Kids dig routine so once they’re used to the plan they’ll know to expect it each day.

  2. Use Screen Time.

    Set aside one hour each day when the kids are awake and let them do something like watch TV or play a video game. You will all be on your screens together and you can get some writing done. I can usually knock out 1000 words in an hour but anything is better than nothing.

  3. Give Yourself a Break.

    Sometimes writing can really feel like another job, a miserable slog. It’s okay to let yourself off the hook now and then. Where we live, summer is a time we force ourselves outside as much as possible so if you aren’t wanting to write, you can sit outside and read while the kids play. To paraphrase Stephen King in On Writing, to be a good writer you’ve got to be a good reader too.

  4. Find a Mom/Writer Friend.

    If you find another mom nearby that would like a spare hour or two you can arrange a swap with her. A friend of mine has done this and now has two hours to herself each week. Of course, she also has another day when she has to watch her friend’s kids so you have to decide if it’s worth the commitment.

  5. Write a Story with Your Kids.

    I was surprised at how much fun I had when I invited my son to help me write a picture book. He drew pictures, suggested character names and story ideas. And even if it isn’t published worthy, you can print it out and have a special project that you worked on together. If you want to create something that’s more like a real book, Lulu.com is a site that makes it easy to transform your work into a real book. It might even ignite a love of reading and writing in a kid who’s shown no interest in these areas in school.

So what are some of your favorite tips for getting your writing done with kids around? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Melissa Uhles is a Freelance Writer and mom who has authored three books under her pen-name MJ Greenway. She writes under the clouds of the Pacific Northwest where sometimes her son and husband pop in to check on her.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Are You Raising a Twonager?

It occurred to me the other day, as my toddler held me hostage on our living room floor, that I might be raising a teenager. In one hand, I held his leg to keep him from scooting away with a butt smeared with poop and in the other the overflowing diaper.  The situation was precarious.

Before my son entered into toddler land, I naively thought it couldn’t be that bad. After all, it couldn’t be as bad as middle school or the onset of puberty. My 28-pound cutie wouldn’t turn into one of those screaming, foam dripping monsters being dragged away from the playground. Yet, I was starting to become suspicious.

Now, you might be concerned that you’re living with a Twonager as well.  This is understandable. If you suspect you might be raising one, take the following quiz to find out.

  1. Does your toddler do what you say. . .?
    1. All the time
    2. Some of the time
    3. None of the time
  2. Does your toddler continue to grab the remote, even after you’ve told him not to?
    1. Every chance he gets
    2. Only when I’m not looking
    3. He doesn’t like remotes
  3. How often does your toddler resist a diaper change?
    1. Only when he’s not sleeping
    2. If he doesn’t have a toy to play with
    3. Never, he loves a wet wipe
  4. How many times have you given in to a snack right before dinnertime?
    1. I can’t say no.
    2. Only when I don’t want to cook dinner
    3. He eats when I’m ready.
  5. Is it common for your toddler to say no to the simplest request?
    1. It’s his favorite word
    2. Some of the time
    3. My toddler is an angel
  6. How often does your toddler keep you up at night?
    1. What’s sleep?
    2. Some nights
    3. Every night
  7. Are your toddler’s moods ever changing?
    1. Yes, I’m raising a few different people
    2. Only if he’s tired, hungry or sick
    3. He’s perfect.

For every a answer you earned three points. Every b answer is worth 2 points. And every c answer is worth 1 point.

Add up your points to find out if you’re raising a Twonager.

If you scored 17 – 21 points, you’re most definitely living with a Twonager. Don’t worry; he’ll grow out of it. Then back into it around age 13.

If you scored 16 – 12 points you’re on the cusp. More than likely living with a tween. He shows some symptoms but hasn’t fully gone over to a Twonager (yet).

If you scored 7 – 11 points you’re living with a toddler. What a relief!

A Twonager Deconstructed

Like teenagers, toddlers are mercurial. One second my son is singing along with Daniel Tiger, and the next demanding a banana. He can be enjoying a bowl of yogurt, only to throw it on the floor for no apparent reason. Teenagers exhibit the same signs of ever shifting moods.  When I was 14, I had no clue what I wanted. All I knew was that I didn’t want what I had wanted.

Testing limits is another toddler and teenager commonality. The other day, I told my son that he had to stay on the sand in the playground. He marched over to the edge and put one foot in the sand and one foot out on the grass. He looked at me.  We both froze. I made a slight movement. He bolted towards the busy street. I caught him just as he was stepping off the curb.  Teenagers test limits too. I’ll just keep asking until my mom lets me go to the party driving her new car.

In Harvey Karp’s book, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, he calls toddlers, uncivilized cavemen. My son won’t let me feed him anymore. If I go anywhere near his spoon, he grabs it and says mine. Even the cat is subject to his possessiveness. She sits next to his bear and he says, “Mine, kitty,” in an authoritative voice. Most of the time my twonager won’t even let me change his diaper.  My Teenagers don’t wear diapers, but they certainly believe they can do everything by themselves.

Another similarity is that they keep you up at night. My son wakes up at night if he’s cold, hot, has a bad dream, or just wants to play. I’ve given up on sleep. The other night, I woke up to his screams. Curfew is meant to be broken.  I ran into his room. His bear had fallen out of his crib. I picked it up. He said, “Mine.”  Even as I’m impressed with the correct use of a possessive, I’m starting to dislike that word. Teenagers keep you up as well.

Developmental changes run rampant in toddlers and teenagers. My son changes every day. One day he can only say wader (for water), and the next he can say, more wader peas (for please). Changes aren’t regulated to language either. I glanced over the other day, and he grew two inches before my eyes. I swear I heard a popping sound. His head suddenly looked enormous.

Teenagers are the same way. My friend’s son seemed to have stretched out like a noodle overnight. They also throb for new adventure and experiences. Dr. Geld, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Mental Health, says that 95 percent of brain development happens before age six. The remaining right before and during adolescence. If my brain were expanding, I’d be a little testy too.

Talking back starts surprisingly early. After mine and banana, no is my son’s other favorite word. It’s time to get in the car now. No! We need to wash our hands. No! Do you want to have some fun? No! Teenagers love this word too. Except their explanations are a little longer.  No, like, I don’t wanna go. Okay. I like, just don’t wanna go.

Whoever you’re livings with – twonager or teen – remember that it’s important to take one day at a time. Your twonager will soon be a regular teen – before you know it!

 

7 Lessons Moving from Bottle to Sippy

My son declared a milk strike. He stared defiantly into my husband’s eyes over the rim of his sippy cup. “Go ahead. Make me drink,” he seemed to say. I watched from a distance, not daring to get involved. One toddler against milk-kind, and I wasn’t sure who would win.

This battle started a few days before when in a moment of mom foolishness, I decided to switch him from a bottle to a sippy cup for milk. I had wanted to make the switch earlier than 18 months, but as a working mom, I seemed to be late with everything. At my son’s last check-up, the pediatrician reminded me that using a bottle could eventually ruin his teeth. The plunge came when I picked him up from daycare and saw that all the other toddlers were drinking their milk from sippy cups; he was the only one sucking on a bottle.

I casually told Lulu, his daycare provider, “He can drink from a sippy cup, you know.”  As if this had been going on for months. This is when the milk strike began.

I knew how much he loved his bottle, but I wasn’t aware of the depth of that feeling. I really didn’t think switching to sippy would be a big deal. Other times in the past, when I worried about stopping or changing something it hadn’t been hard. At five months, when he woke up each time his pacifier came out of his mouth, I struggled with the decision to take it away.  The prospect terrified me. I called his pediatrician to ask if it would cause any psychological damage. Finally, I threw out all of his pacifiers. He didn’t even seem to miss them. There was never a moment of protest. The same thing happened when I moved him from my room to his crib. I anticipated sleepless nights, but I don’t even think he missed me. Honestly, I missed him.

Not the bottle though.

But switching to sippy began the long saga of tantrums for his bottle or baba as he lovingly called it. I knew then that I had failed as a mother.  I had taken away his best friend, his blankie, and he would possibly never recover.  I had failed, but I had learned some things along the way.

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  1. Before any drastic moves, arm yourself with mom knowledge

I had read the wellness handout at my son’s 12-month check-up about exchanging the bottle for the sippy cup, but at the time I thought it was an unnecessary change. My son could suck on a bottle for 30 minutes or more in his crib some days, giving me that extra time to relax. If we were in the grocery store, I could give him a bottle and finish shopping. Sometimes when he woke up at night, a warm bottle was the only thing that helped him to go back to sleep. It wasn’t that I felt he wasn’t ready, I wasn’t ready either. I didn’t care what the experts said – the bottle was here to stay.

But I was wrong.

Taking this step wasn’t about what “we” were ready for; it was about what was right for the health of my child. Sigh. Research from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort revealed that roughly 22 percent of children still using the bottle at two years of age were obese. I was aware that prolonged bottle use caused tooth decay and crooked positioning of the permanent teeth, but that it increased obesity floored me.

Unfortunately, obesity in children is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “…about one in five school-aged children (ages 6–19) has obesity.” Obesity has more than tripled in the last 30 years. In the HBO documentary, “The Weight of the Nation, diet is one of the biggest factors causing obesity. Milk is a necessary part of a child’s diet. Yet, I never thought about how a child receives milk as important. Taking away the bottle is a way to decrease the chances of obesity for your child. In my case, taking away the bottle was torture, but educating myself as to why helped strengthen my resolve during those I’m the worst mother ever moments.

  1. Take the bottle away earlier, rather than later

Making a big change at 12 months is easier than at 18 months. The reason for this has to do with developing self, language, and memory. If I gave him bananas in a green bowl, he now wanted bananas only in that green bowl.  I made the mistake of giving him a cookie on the commute home from daycare, and now he screams for a cookie every time he gets in the car. At 12 months he probably would have forgotten this mom error. At 18 months, drinking milk from a bottle is a fully developed habit and one not easily forgotten. It’s like the difference between sleep training at 18 months versus six. The older the child becomes, the harder it is to change ingrained habits. Besides the real health concerns of continued bottle use, making this transition as early as possible is much easier. I’m pretty sure the milk strike would never have happened if I’d listened to the advice I’d received.

  1. Don’t give into a toddler’s demands

I’ve never felt as bad as I did listening to him screaming for his baba. By the second day, I gave in and handed him a bottle for breakfast. The milk was gone in seconds. When I picked him up at daycare that afternoon, I found him in a milk war with Lulu. Lulu’s been watching kids for 30 years. I not only trust her completely with my son but rely on her for parenting advice.  “Whatever you do,” she told me, “do not give him a bottle again. Or this will go on forever.” I slinked away with my screaming son, not daring to admit I’d given him the bottle. Lulu was right. The milk war intensified and never ended. I resigned myself to the fact that he would never drink milk gain. I realized my inconsistency had made the situation worse. Somewhere in his little brain, I planted the seed. He knew: “My mom’s a wimp. She always gives in.”

  1. Remember dairy can come from many different sources

As the milk strike wore on, I became increasingly concerned about his dairy intake. He refused milk in any form. We tried chocolate milk, ice cream, and smoothies. My son could sniff out milk like a young Sherlock. Research shows that toddlers need about two cups of milk per day. I spoke to his pediatrician, who explained that he doesn’t have to get calcium and Vitamin D solely from milk. He can get it from other sources.  Yogurt and cheese are great substitutes. I began to give him yogurt in the morning with fresh fruit and then eggs with veggies and cheese at night. String cheese is one of his favorite snacks, so whenever possible I gave him a stick to munch on. I learned that if a toddler goes on a milk strike, not all dairy nutrition is lost. You just have to think outside of the milk carton.

  1. Take the bottle away slowly, not all at once

Going cold turkey wasn’t smart when it came to my son’s bottle. In fact, this made him dig in his heels further. The stubbornness definitely comes from my husband’s side of the family. My husband disagrees, of course. Okay, maybe he gets it from me. Wherever this stubbornness comes from, instead of taking away the bottle all at once, I should have replaced one bottle of milk at a time with a sippy cup first. Not only that, I should have started at home first, then at daycare. It’s better to take the bottle away slowly than to enter into a milk war. It became apparent rather fast that I was not going to win that war. I couldn’t force him to drink milk. I couldn’t entice him. Some things can be taken away all at once; others require a longer transition.

  1. Try not to associate one kind of cup with one kind of liquid

One reason I thought switching from a bottle to a sippy cup wouldn’t be a big deal was that he already used a sippy cup. He had for months. What I hadn’t realized was that he only associated sippy cups with water. Every single time he got milk, it was in a bottle. Now, this might not have been a big deal for 12 months, but at 18 months he was used to the routine. In fact, I was always telling other moms what a believer I was in a routine. His nap time was always at the same time. His bedtime routine never changed. I had trained my son to expect milk from only a bottle. I had read about having two of the same kind of lovey in case one is lost, but I had never expected his lovey to be his bottle. If I had to do it all over again, I would have him drink milk from a sippy cup consistently before taking the bottle away.

  1. Don’t force your toddler to drink milk

The Battle of the Bottle at the Ok Corral continued with my husband and son. As my son shook his head, chanting “No. No. No,” my husband chanted back, “Drink your milk. Drink your milk. Drink your milk!” Eventually, both gave up exhausted. Not one drop from his cup was missing. We then tried every cup imaginable. We had him choose a cup. We gave him a real glass. We even allowed him to watch Peppa Pig, while munching on cookies and holding a glass of milk in his hand. All the cookies disappeared, but the milk traveled only as far as the carpet. The more we insisted, the stronger my son’s resolve became. It’s better to not make a big deal of the standoff; otherwise, the battle will never end.

The other day I came across a study discussed in Time Magazine’s article, “Why it’s great to have a stubborn child,”  which found that stubbornness can lead to success later on in life. When I told my husband this, he nodded proudly. “He gets that from my side,” he exclaimed. My son’s determination to drink milk only from a bottle seemed to have brought us closer as a family. I couldn’t foresee anything changing in the near future, but I had learned something much more important than just how not to take away the bottle. I had learned a valuable lesson about my son – he had grit.

I Love My Children, but . . .

Before I became a mom, my best friend told me that she was excited about the weekend because she was going to be away from her kids. I have to admit, I judged her a little bit. Fast forward to two kids later, and I know exactly how she feels. I love my children, but there are times I can’t wait to get away from them.

There are times that I want to hide in the bathroom with a magazine and a chocolate bar.

There are times that I dream of my toddler being able to work the remote and get his own snack, while I sleep past six am.

But when I tell this to people, I can’t just say that I want to hide; I have to make sure that I always begin with, “I love my children, but. . . “.

For the most part, loving one’s children is a given; it doesn’t need to be qualified. You might be afraid that you don’t have the capacity to love someone more than you love yourself. But when that little being arrives in your life, your heart expands.

The child becomes a part of your future.

This is why the qualification, “I love my children, but . . .” has been bothering me. Of course, I love my children, but why have I felt the need to remind people.

I wouldn’t say, I love my job, but I want to quit. Was it because I was afraid they would think I actually didn’t? Or was it because I wanted them to think I was a good mother? Or, perhaps, I needed to remind myself that I was?

I began to hear other mom-friends utter the same assurances at various play dates at the park, birthday parties, and mom support groups.

“I love my daughter, but I’d rather be somewhere else than soccer practice.”

“My daughter is so like Wednesday Adams. But of course, I love that character. It’s just that she can be really dark.”

“I love my son, but the three hours a day he’s at daycare is the only time I can relax.”

I realized I wasn’t alone and that mothers everywhere were constantly reminding themselves and the world at large that they loved their children.

This wasn’t solely a me problem but rather a commonality that mothers everywhere struggled with on a daily basis. I theorize it has to do with three reasons.

We don’t want to be judged by others

Remember how I judged my best friend before I had children? As a single woman, I had no idea the demands raising children placed on mothers. Sure, I could understand intellectually and even sympathize, but nothing prepared me for the actual reality. A friend of mine lamented that her husband was away on a business trip and would be able to eat his food without sharing. Before becoming a parent, that statement wouldn’t have been as relatable. I noticed the non-parents in the room laughed but also gave her a strange look.

People judge us as parents all the time. Your kid’s the one screaming in the restaurant or still using a pacifier at four-years-old. Suddenly, the lady in line next to you at the grocery store starts to mention how easy it is for kids to ruin their teeth as your kid sucks on a bottle while sitting in the cart. As a last resort, you gave him one to buy more time while shopping.

Being judged as a mother is a daily occurrence at times and you don’t want to add to it by complaining about your kids. So you qualify by reminding the listener that yeah, your little angel is a butthead, but of course, you love him.

We don’t want to be viewed as bad moms

Being a bad mom goes against the grain of all we know in this crazy world. To go down this bumpy road is to go against thousands of years of gender programming. We are taught that we must give every single ounce of our time and energy to raise our children and love every single moment of it. If we don’t, we are akin to the stuff on the bottom of one’s shoe.

Even though motherhood is a constant struggle for some, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their children any less than those who have found motherhood fulfilling. Sometimes we need to complain about our kids. Qualifying that we love them reminds the listener that we aren’t bad moms; we’re just having a bad day.

We don’t want to feel guilty

If I call my toddler a little monster, I need to add that he’s super cute or gives me the sweetest kisses. There needs to be a balance between the good and the bad or the guilt settles in. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, so I’m not sure where the guilt comes from, but I’m flooded with it constantly.

Guilt affects non-parents as well, but as a parent, I spread an even deeper layer across all my interactions. If I don’t remind myself that I do love them, even when I’m scrubbing the crayon off the wall, I’ll feel guilty about disparaging them. I created them, so I need to love all of them. Otherwise, the guilt settles in.

How to not qualify?

The simplest answer is to not do it. It’s a bad habit like saying like every other word that needs to change.  Okay, it might not be that easy. I tried it a few times, but not adding a qualification made me feel like I was being judged, slapped with a bad mom sticker, and feeling guiltier than getting a large ice cream cone at McDonald’s on the way home from Gymboree.

It dawned on me that I didn’t believe that the qualification wasn’t necessary. I needed to trust that even though I was complaining, I was, in fact, a good mom. Perhaps, this whole time the, “I love them, but . . .” wasn’t for the listener but more for me. The truth was I needed the reminder; otherwise, I wasn’t living up to my own personal standard of perfection. My own judgment was worse than the lady with know-it-all attitude at the grocery store.

I needed to believe that my mommy skills were good enough and that complaining was in fact okay.

I still find it hard to not qualify. Bad habits take time to disappear. Now, though, I take a pause and then continue on. I know I love my children, and in the end, that is what counts.

Another Winner

Winner

We are excited to announce that the winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card & Free Copy of The Proposition is (do you hear the drum roll) Amanda P.


Congratulations Amanda! Enjoy your shopping spree and hot romance!!

Thank you everyone for participating and sharing this hot giveaway with your friends and family. It was a huge success. There will be a new giveaway starting soon. So check back for all the exciting details!

Another Hot Giveaway

You Deserve Something Naughty and Nice.

In honor of The Proposition hitting the bookshelves, we are giving away a free copy and a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. Enter now and spread the word!

Giveaway Details

To enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway
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