Friday, January 30, 2009

Smiley Tyley

Meet Tyler. I've always said that all of the babies I've given birth to are the most beautiful babies ever. Now, I have to amend that to, all the babies I've ever fed with my breast milk, are the most beautiful babies ever!

Tyler was not one of my surrogate babies. I met his mother online when I was on a surrogate website moaning about not wanting to stop pumping my breast milk. I had been pumping for about four months for my most recent surro-twins and was slightly hysterical at the thought of stopping. I didn't want to stop. Yes, it took a lot of time, I couldn't eat a lot of things, I couldn't have a drink, and I couldn't do a lot of things, because I always had to think about being able to pump every few hours. But, man, did I love it. I loved watching the milk start pouring out and into the bottles. I loved seeing all the milk piled up in the freezer. But, mostly, I loved getting pictures of fat, healthy and happy babies. I just wasn't ready to let that go.

Enter Jamie. :)

As I was online looking for support, she comes on and mentions that if anyone doesn't want to stop pumping, she has a very hungry preemie. We started emailing and a beautiful friendship was formed. I loved that she immediately sent me pictures of Tyler. I loved that he was smiling in all of them. I loved that when I went back and looked at her old posts, that she was a kind and caring IM (intended mother). Since I knew I could never do another surrogacy (RH's idea, not mine), I was not ready to give up this last thing that I could give. And this was someone who would not just benefit from my milk, but who really needed it.

You see, Tyler was born at 25 weeks and 6 days. He was 2 lbs and 7 oz and 15 inches long. He lost weight after he was born and went under 2 pounds! When I first started sending milk, he was 11 pounds at 5 months old. That was almost one year ago. At 16 months, he got to 25 pounds and is pulling himself up! He is even starting to try and stand on his own a bit! He is also very healthy and, I believe, has made it through the season this far without getting sick.

You know, I had to deal with a lot of crap from people who couldn't understand why I would do this. In case you are wondering (because IRL, a LOT of people were), no, I did not get any monetary compensation for doing this (Jamie, however, made sure I never had to pay for any of the supplies or shipping). But, I did get something from it. I got satisfaction from knowing I was helping a baby grow up into a healthy toddler. I got satisfaction from Jamie's updates, letting me know how the doctor was so pleased with how he was doing. I would get pictures, showing me his beautiful smile (hence my nickname for him "Smiley Tyley") and those gorgeous chubby cheeks. I got to know that I made a difference. And I also made a friend in the process. I consider myself one of the luckiest people I know. I am grateful everyday that Jamie saw my post and chose to respond.

In all, I got to pump for 8 months for Tyler. I cherished every minute and I must admit, there are times that I miss it. I do like my freedom, but I did have to exchange the beauty I had in order to get it. And if that beauty is in question for anyone else, look at the pictures at the start of this entry. Because most people don't get to have beauty like that in their entire lifetime.
(Note: for anyone wondering, yes, I got Jamie's permission to post this.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Trials of Ted Haggard

Dear Ted,

I saw this movie tonight. I have to say, I am looking at you in a different way. Before, I was very angry and disgusted with you. You preached that being homosexual was wrong and that people who lived a gay life were sinners. Personally, that was enough for me to be angry with you. Some of my best friends and family are gay and I am Mama Bear where they are concerned. Don't mess with my gays. I will tear you up.

But, then to hear that you are gay. That you went to a gay prostitute and had sex. Now, I felt two ways about this. One, I was very angry that you were so hypocritical in your life. Hypocrites bother me. You know that being gay is not a choice, firsthand, yet you kept trying to "fix" gay people. But two, I felt very strongly that the church that you looked up to, forced you into this mess.

Now, I mostly feel the second way.

Ted, they have brainwashed you into hating yourself. You don't need to get rid of the gay, you need to get rid of the evangelical. It's killing you. They banned you from your church, from your state, from your home. Do you really think your God would approve of that? I mean, really? Do you really think your God would make you this way and then desert you? Because if you do, you will never love yourself. This religion has been set up to exclude an entire group of people, a group of people that society is not so fond of either. You need to break free, to recognize that you can still be a Christian and be gay. That there are people who will not desert you when you need them the most. These are the people you need, not the "only love you when you're up and throw you out with the trash when you're down" crowd. I know you seemed surprised and hurt that they didn't stick by you. I, sadly, was not surprised.

All I could think, as I watched this movie was that this is what misery looks like. You smile all the time, but you look so sad. Even with a big smile, you look like you're going to start crying at anytime. You feel like a failure, but your only failure was trusting in a belief that doesn't allow you to be human. I believe it calls it "sin". I think the real sin is allowing for a system that beats people down, makes them hate themselves, then chews them up and spits them out. I think the sin is that you were never made to believe that you were okay just the way you were.

I think there's hope for you. But, I think you need to stop hating that part of you. Embrace and love yourself for who you are, not what someone else says you need to be. You could be a role model for gay evangelicals, who are going through the same thing you are going through. Tell them it's okay, tell them they are okay. You could saves lives, maybe your own. Gay teens are at a very high risk for suicide, I would imagine evangelical gay teens even higher. You could be the life raft they hang onto. You could make a difference.

Watching you tonight broke my heart, as I saw what they had done to you. You need to undo it, Ted. Don't let them win. Keep the gay, lose the evangelical.

I still can't believe that I feel this way (remember, Mama Bear), but I am rooting for you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The side of life

Okay, I know I haven't posted lately. I guess I couldn't think of anything to say that wasn't simply repeating what I had already said. But, something has been bugging me lately and I need to say something.

My mom saw a bumper sticker that she thought I'd like: "War for Peace is like Fucking for Virginity".


Then, I go to this website a few days ago. There is a person on this website that is always taunting political controversies in front of everyone. (Can you say troll?) I have no real issue with Republicans, but this guy is such a right-wing tool. I don't want to say who he reminds me of, but his name rhymes with Schmil O'Schmiley. I'm not even sure why I keep going to this website. I'm sure I am just harboring some deep masochistic tendencies.

Anyway, website. They were talking about Guantanamo and the percentage of people released from there who went back to terrorism. me, "went back" means that we can prove they were doing it in the first place and if we could have, then why did we release them? If we cannot prove someone broke the law, then we need to either a)release them or b)fix our system if we find we are releasing too many criminals. And by "fix our system", I don't mean kill them before we get a chance to try them. Yeah, I've heard that suggestion.

Okay, what bugged me was someone saying what I've just said and then getting the response "Give me a simple answer: are you on America's side or the terrorists' side?"

My answer? (and no, it wasn't me involved in all this) I am on life's side.

How would we react if someone came to our country and knocked down our government? And then they stayed for years and showed no signs of leaving? If our electricity, phones and water were now iffy, at best? If we had lost control of all that we had? Would we have fought back?

And how would we react if someone came into our country and stole it out from beneath us? And then pushed us into little patches of land with no way out, quite literally? Rewrote history and made sure that the rest of the world would hate us? Would we fight back?

Two different situations, I know, but kind of related in that propaganda abounds here. We only tell the one side of it. And they only tell, I'm sure, their side of it. Except, they are there. They have to live with bombs and soldiers and not knowing where the next meal will come from or if their children will live through the day. So, forgive me if I give their side of the story just a little bit more weight.

Now, I am not saying anyone is right for bombing, even in self-defense, but unless we can say that we would do it differently, how can we judge them so harshly? And, you know, if I knew that every time I did anything, I would be vilified and that every time my foe did something to me, they would be supported and loved...I think I would be pretty mad and desperate, too. One of the first things they do in couples therapy is teach the couple to listen to each other and to give each other's feelings validation. I think people are a lot less angry when they feel like someone is listening to them, that's all.