From the Mommy Files…

Posts Tagged ‘mom

The next morning I got that message. The one we dread.

Huh?

I called. “Can you come on Tuesday?” I tried to keep it in perspective, since I was warned that I’d likely get the call. “Tuesday’s 3 days from now,” I thought. Perspective. I set the appointment, telling myself I’m OK.

Over the next few days, I’d remind myself repeatedly, that it was a formality; I’m OK. I even tried visualization: The doctor says, “We had to double check, because we don’t have any comparison images. Everything’s fine. See you next year.”

That morning, my husband and I discussed the day’s events. “Last week was the “Panini Treatment.’ Today, ‘The Crusher!’” I said, in my most sinister sounding voice. I thought he’d laugh, but he gave me a bewildered look. “Glad you’re keeping a sense of humor,” he responded. Do I have a choice?

I got the kids off to school and headed downtown. I approached the women’s hospital and thought, “I really hate this place!” This is the same place I went for my D&C, and chemo. I reminded myself that my younger daughter was born there. I walked inside, and remembered waiting with my husband by the front windows for the tour of the then-new hospital. Smile.

Then there was that familiar feeling: “Here I am again on the damned 4th floor!” I gazed to the right—the cancer center—where I’d spent so much time a few years before. I’m OK. I’m OK.

This time it was a left turn. The sign greeted me: “Diagnostic Mammography/Breast Ultrasound.” Couldn’t miss the big sign on the back wall: Lynn Sage Comprehensive Cancer Center. Deep breath. I’m OK. A volunteer greeted me and showed me the changing room. Ahhh, the lovely green ensemble. This one had a different print. How chic! NOT.Imaging Sign

“You brought a book!” the volunteer said. “You’ve been told how things work here.” “No,” I responded. “I spent a lot of time on the other side of this floor. I know how it goes.” She looked puzzled, but then gave me instructions.

I waited with 2 other ladies, all in lovely green gowns with different patterns. No one spoke. We all waited. One lady was called for her test. The other was told she would need an ultrasound for verification. No one made eye contact. Everyone seemed to do their best to keep calm. I opened my book, but then took out my notepad instead. I wrote: We just had to double check, because we don’t have any comparison images. Everything is fine. See you next year for your regular mammogram. I recited the mantra over and over. Everything is fine. It HAS to be.

Then it was my turn. “Microcalcifications,” the tech explained, showing me the original mammogram. “We don’t know why women get them, but usually they’re harmless. Oh, and it has nothing to do with how much calcium you get in your diet.” She also informed me that 1 in 4 women are summoned for further imaging, and of those, 75% are first-timers—meaning it’s the baseline mammogram, and they require additional imaging to see all angles so they have images to compare in the future, and also to get a closer look at anything suspicious. Both breasts were to be imaged, because both had these pesky, tiny “white” calcium spots. Again, I’m one of the “Chosen Few.” I’ve already been one, twice already. Enough.

Disrobe. Approach the torture machine. Be twisted, flattened (even more so than the last time).

I think she took four images on each side. She interchanged different pieces of the machine, then mushed and crushed, and basically put my breasts in a vice. “The Crusher” for sure.

Deep breath, hold it and don’t move. OK. Step back. Now come straight in, hold the other breast away, lean in, sorry I have to make this really tight…

The images would be viewed by the radiologist, and then they’d discuss them with me. I would leave with results! I was escorted back to the waiting room. Woman #1 was back, and was soon called to be told she needed ultrasound. A new woman was in there waiting. Was it the same routine for all?

Twenty minutes later, a new tech came, calling my name. “Come with me. We’re going for ultrasound.” She showed me the images, and told me they needed a closer look at several areas. As I lay on the table, arm behind my head, all I could think of, was “I hope my pits don’t stink too bad!” No deodorant is allowed day, as on the imaging, it can resemble something daunting.

I watched the screen. I was curious. I’d watched all the ultrasounds I had with my pregnancies – even the molar pregnancy. But these images were foreign. She clicked, measured, moved around. I don’t know how to read all the abbreviations on the screen, but it sure added to my anxiety level. At one point, I thought I saw a face, formed by things in the scan. I’ve seen this face before — in the ultrasound where we first suspected the molar pregnancy. I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me.

“The radiologist is waiting. Just stay here and try to relax. Likely, she’ll want to come and double check.” A few minutes later, the tech and the radiologist entered the room. “The microcalcifications are nothing to be concerned about,” the radiologist said, and gave me the “baseline speech.” Phew! I’m in the clear!

Not so fast!

“This is the area that I wanted another set of eyes,” the tech said, pointing to the right side of my right breast. Using the ultrasound wand, the radiologist scanned. I didn’t know what she was looking for, as she click-clicked to capture images and measure things.

Then the other shoe dropped.

“It may likely be just an unusual convergence of the ducts, but something looks suspicious. I can’t really tell by the ultrasound. You have two options: scan again in 6 months, which I don’t recommend, or biopsy,” the radiologist explained.

Are you kidding me?

“It may be nothing. The only way we’ll know is to check. It’s small. We need to know what’s in there, and we can’t wait. Let’s do a biopsy.”

“Now?!” I murmured, trying not to freak out.

“We can’t do it today. Our scheduler will schedule it for the next few days. Let’s not wait.”

I walked the long hallway back to the changing room. It felt like the last mile. What just happened here? This can’t be happening. Slightly numb and feeling sick to my stomach, I changed and waited for the scheduler.

She wanted me to come back tomorrow. No-can-do. “OK, come back Tuesday at 2 pm. Arrive at 1:45, and plan to stay 2-3 hours. We never run on time.”

I have to wait a week until the biopsy. One week of all kinds of things running through my mind. One week of agonizing over the possibility of throwing my kids’ lives into chaos – again. As I drove home, I prayed. I asked God. “Am I missing something?” “Am I not grateful enough?” “Am I not doing something fast enough, and you’re trying to light a fire under me?” There’s a reason here. I just kept thinking about my kids—I don’t want them to suffer through another malady.

Now, I wonder: For a baseline, why aren’t women brought in for the full gamut of images from the start, instead of scaring the beejeezus out them by summoning them for further imaging? That would make sense, but nothing makes sense in the world of medicine and insurance.

Have you ever been summoned for further testing? Have you ever had to ponder the what-ifs of a life-changing or threatening illness? How did you react? Have you ever had a biopsy that showed everything was fine? Do share in the comments below.

She was incontinent – hadn’t been in weeks.

The next morning, she had trouble breathing.

I told her if she continued to have issues, we should see the doctor.

She said she’d see how she felt as the day went on.

Later that day, she said she was fine.

Well, she wasn’t.

She was up all night, and kept Dad up for the next few nights.

She couldn’t breathe, wasn’t feeling well at all, but never said a word.

I asked Mom repeatedly if she felt OK, and she kept saying she was fine.

On her fifth day home, the phone rang.

“Hello. This is ADT Home Health Alert. We’ve received an alert, and an ambulance is on its way.”

Here we go again.

Back to the hospital…where we learned it was a very severe congestive heart failure.

Mom had it before, but not this bad. heartmonitor

Later, the doctor said it was so bad, we almost lost her.

My grandmother used to go to the hospital a lot for this, and would spend a few weeks in the hospital.

But that was 20 years ago, and things have changed.

Now, after 3 days, the hospital was ready to send Mom home, with a very intensive follow up treatment.

Each day, my father would need to:

  • Weigh her and log it: any gain of more than a couple of pounds would indicate she was filling up with fluid
  • Take her blood pressure and log it
  • Check her ankles several times a day for swelling
  • Measure and monitor her fluid intake very precisely: too much would put her over the edge, too little would dehydrate her
  • Provide a very strict diet: absolutely no salt
  • Get her to take her meds—all her meds—at the prescribed time and in the prescribed amount, every single day, no exception

We had been struggling for more than a year to get her to take her meds as directed.

There was no way Dad would be able to handle this.

He’d tell Mom to do something and she’d bark at him and he would give up and not mention it again.

It was just easier to do what she wanted than to try to fight her.

So we elected to send her back to rehab.

If she had the strength, she probably would have kicked my ass.

But there was just no way.

The doctor told us that the CHF would not improve, we only try to keep it from getting worse.

Enter a nephrologist – she hadn’t seen one previously but the CHF put considerable stress on her already stressed kidneys.

Another doctor we’d have to visit.

This doctor concurred with the decision to leave the mass alone.

He would continue to monitor her kidney levels, and we’d need to see him every 2-3 months.

This was becoming truly overwhelming – taking her to all her doctors for follow ups was getting to be a full-time job.

And no one else will take the time, advocate for her, ask the needed questions or do any research.

My children began to see their grandmother as the one who took Mom away.

It seemed like I’d make plans with them—even something like watching a movie—then my mother would have an emergency and I’d have to leave.

They would cry like I just took away their favorite lovey.

I don’t want them to remember their grandmother that way.

The sad truth is, they probably will, because she has never really engaged them or tried to do anything with them.

Anyway, Mom went back to rehab.

We checked her in that night at 9 pm.

Yes, 9 pm!

We started to wonder why this couldn’t wait until morning – there had been a bad snowstorm, and it was so late.

Apparently, they couldn’t wait to get rid of her. She was driving everyone crazy.

Well, it’s what she does best!

It took 1 hour to get home from the rehab center.

It was normally a 15 minute trip.

Before I even got home, Mom called.

“Why did you leave me here? They don’t do nothing for me! Get me out!”

This lament would be repeated over and over.

Mom prefers to be waited on hand and foot, and rehab is not like the hospital.

There are less nurses and aides for more patients.

The calls came every hour.

“I could have gone home. Get me out!”

She got meaner and meaner, but by the next day had settled in.

What she missed the most was not having anyone to be her personal slave.

My dad had taken on that role.

Someone she could yell at any moment to do something—and he would do it, even if it meant foregoing something important for himself, like sleep.

Mom would wake Dad up at night if she couldn’t sleep, which was often.

She’d wake him to help her to the bathroom.

She was capable of going alone but why should Dad sleep if she wasn’t?

I’m not exaggerating.

She’d wake up hungry and bully him until he got up to make her something to eat.

And I’m not talking a sandwich or warming up leftovers.

She’d want a fresh meal—she’d demand it.

And Dad would get up to do it.

Of course, he never said a word to us.

He just did it.

Later, we’d learn that Mom had always treated him so poorly.

Even more so than we had witnessed.

And he did what she wanted, because he loved her so much.

And wanted to make her happy.

It’s been more than 50 years, and he’s still trying to make her happy, but unfortunately, she has never allowed herself to be.

But that’s another story.

You’re probably thinking, “Huh?”

Yes, I have a 4 year-old and a 2 year-old, and surely you’re wondering, “isn’t that official enough?”

In life we go through certain rites of passage.

Not all moms get pregnant and give birth.

So though that definitely makes you a mom, it’s not the only way. So we won’t start there.

Not all moms breastfeed, but I’ll tell you, when goofy things happen during breastfeeding (I’ll leave that to your imagination), you feel like you’re getting initiated into the club.

Now, when the baby pees on you for the first time – you’ve been christened.

You’re on your way.

The first time the baby spits up or throws up on you – and this is inevitable – you climb a rung on the ladder of mommyhood.


Of course, every milestone your child passes raises your mom status.


There are so many other rites of passage that moms go through.

Like when your child says they hate you and slam the door.

When your child is openly defiant.

When your child has the mother of all meltdowns in a store or at an event, and everyone stops to look at you and seems to judge you.

When you become an officer of the PTA.

Guilty. I’m there too.

When your child stays away from home for the first time.

When your child doesn’t come home on time and you can’t reach them.

Of course, when they get older (read: teenagers) there are certainly more challenges – and those challenges are more complex.

You’re a pro by then. You’re the queen. You rule! I’m not yet in your league.


Now there is another rite of passage that officially earns you your mom stripes.

Years ago I secretly made fun of these moms, that this was so Carol Brady and kinda geeky.

Well, call me Geeky Carol.

That’s me.

The other night I found myself making dwarf hats with Boo for her upcoming class presentation of “Snow White.”

As we finished the first hat – it actually turned out well – I paused.

It hit me.


Oh my gosh!


I’m sewing costumes for the school play!


I’M OFFICIALLY A MOM!


Yes, I bake and cook, share traditions and all that with the kids.

But this is different.

Could I really be – is it possible –  a Martha Stewart mom?

Hoo hoo!

Do I need to go buy some fancy aprons? He he he

Dare I say a “Leave it to Beaver” mom?

I’m feeling a bit giddy here! 😉

Isn’t this something that Marion Cunningham (another “perfect”TV wife/mom) would do? 😉

I’m an old-fashioned domestic diva, and oh-so cool mom!


I’ve been indoctrinated into the club!

I AM M O M, HEAR ME ROAR!


Don’t make fun of me.


I might poke you with my needle as I finish the rest of the hats.

JUST kidding.

This is a family show.


We’re having a great time making them, and coming up with suggestions for the other costumes.

I’VE ARRIVED.


My name is Maria and I’m a MOM!


… And I am loving it!


OK, you’re chuckling. Yes. It’s funny. What do they say, out of the mouths of babes? I have to remind myself that my daughter is only 3, and she isn’t trying to be cruel. However, we all pause a moment when we hear that our backside is, well, on the large side.  

One day I was giving my daughter a bath and she started asking questions. She asked why a girl in her preschool class is bigger than her. I told her that the girl is a little bit older, so she’s had more time to grow. She responded, “What if I drink more milk?” I told her to go for it.

The conversation continued. She asked me, did she have a little nose. I said yes. She asked did she have nice eyes, and I said yes. Then she said, “Do I have a little butt?” I said, “Yes, and it’s a cute little butt!” We both had a giggle.

I was rinsing her hair when the truck hit me. “Mommy, why is your butt big?” Huh? “What?” I asked. She said, “Mommy, you have a big butt!”  I was taken aback. I didn’t know what to say. “Thanks a lot!” I said and finished the bath quickly, without saying much. I was speechless. OK, so I am a little self-conscious of my body these days, what mother isn’t? So I didn’t even stop to think, did I have a “nice” big butt a la J.Lo, or was it a just big ole’ butt?

I put her to bed and my husband asked me why I was so quiet. “I don’t know,” was my response. “Don’t be upset with her,” he said. “She’s just a kid. In comparison, your butt is bigger than her butt. She’s not telling you that you’re fat.” OK, so like it does for many of us, the “you’re fat” played over and over in my mind, until the song “Baby Got Back” took over. After sulking for a bit, I went to look in the mirror.

Hmmm….Well, it ain’t what it used to be. I look, from this side, from the other side, from the back. You’ve done it too. It’s not that big. I’m still wearing a size 4, but sometimes they don’t fit as nicely as they used to. How did this happen?

“Baby Got Back” has stopped playing in my head, but “I’m Too Sexy” hasn’t started up yet either. Pregnancy really changes your body. I didn’t have a clue how much. I have to learn to like my post-pregnancy body. It’s never going to be what it was before. I weigh what I did pre-children. Things just aren’t, well, where they were before. It’s like gravity has attacked me. I’d heard of this phenomenon before. I just hoped it wouldn’t happen to me.

The time has come. It’s time to get back on a regular workout routine. I have to make this new body the best it can be, not so my little one doesn’t tell me that my butt is big, but rather so I can feel good about the new me. Hmmm…how long do you think it will take to get a flat stomach again? OK, how about flatter? Give me a couple of weeks, I’ll let you know. I’m going to get in shape. I’m hitting the gym. My hot babe status is about to be reclaimed. LOL. Summer’s coming.  I double dog dare me. And you too.

Keeping Traditions Alive – No Matter What

We’re Greek Orthodox, and recently, we celebrated the most important feast of the entire year – Easter. My husband and I began hosting holiday celebrations, because we like to entertain, but more importantly, to keep traditions alive. In my own family, I noticed that the traditions were slowly being left behind – it was as if we were forgetting where we came from. It’s a similar story in my husband’s family. I decided a long time ago, that it was my mission to keep the traditions alive – no matter what. OK, I can’t take all the credit. My beloved grandmother, also named Maria, came to me in a dream, shortly after her death. She said, since I was the only one who seemed to show any interest in our culture, it was up to me to keep it going. I took her words very seriously. She never, ever steered me wrong.

Now there is doing a traditional thing here or there, and there is going all out. Mind you, I cannot do things half way, so yes, I go all out. It’s that important. I can just hear you now – absolutely, I am crazy. With the 3 year-old and the 1 year-old underfoot – sometimes screaming because they’d rather play – I keep at it. Traditions are alive and well in this family.

My 3 year-old has now become my trusted helper. When she was a baby, the only way I could getting any sort of baking done was to put her in her high chair, give her some cookie cutters, spatula, measuring spoons and cups, etc., and let her “bake” too. When she was big enough, she wanted to do some actual baking herself. She loves to mix the ingredients. We use this as learning time as well. She counts how many cups or spoonfuls; we watch the clock to determine when to add the next ingredient. It’s also a time when I explain things to her about the holiday, and of course, about my beloved grandmother, whose recipes I use quite a bit. I tell her about our big family celebrations. As my cousins have married and attend holiday gatherings with in-laws, ours are getting smaller. I long for those big boisterous celebrations – especially at Easter.

This year we got the 1 year-old into the act. We put her in the high chair and gave her things so she could “bake” and then we let her taste-test after the cookies had cooled. She didn’t like this at Christmas, but she was very into it this holiday. Somehow she made the connection that you put things in the bowl and stir. I couldn’t believe it when I saw her stirring and there was milk and a cookie in the bowl!

Sure they get bored, and want to do other things sometimes, so I try not to overwhelm them. Now, mind you, the 3 year-old gets upset if she finds out that I made something without her! If you ask her, she can tell you why all the Easter eggs are colored red, and that it’s her godparents that send her a decorated candle to use during the candlelit Resurrection service at midnight on Easter Sunday. Sometimes I forget that she’s 3, though shortly thereafter, she usually reminds me!

It’s important to start from when they are very small, so it’s ingrained, so they grow up with it. When they are younger, they are more receptive. We feel the same about church. I didn’t grow up going to church much, since my father owned a restaurant and always worked, and my mom didn’t drive. When I got older and went to church alone, it took a while to get comfortable and learn about things. I’m still learning. I always want my kids to feel that comfort, to feel the warmth. The people at church are an extended family, and I want my children to know them. I want them to be around the church as much as possible, for Greek school and other activities, designed to help them learn about our religion and to grow spiritually.

For some, this model doesn’t work, but do I believe the closer we keep them to their roots, the greater the chance that we can perpetuate our cultures. Everyone should be proud of where they come from. We didn’t all just magically appear here. It makes us who we are. We all came from a proud culture. In a melting pot society, where we are often pressured to assimilate, it’s incumbent upon us to teach our children where they came from, who they are, and what their background is. If they are of multiple ethnicities, great – there’s so much more for then for them to discover. These things are all part of them and makes them who they are. And why not share your culture with friends? I love learning about other cultures. I’m fascinated by their traditions.

To me this is as important as feeding my children. I’m also nourishing their minds, hearts and souls. So if this means, I don’t sleep in the days leading up to a holiday; that the laundry piles up; that I get very stressed in the preparations; that sometimes I could pull my hair out…just bring me some Epsom salts to soak my feet in after the big party. No matter what – the celebrations will continue. I’m proud of where I come from; we all should be proud of and celebrate our roots. If we don’t keep the traditions alive, they’ll be lost forever.

I keep all this in mind, even as the 3 year-old sings the triumphant hymn, “Christ is Risen” – in Greek – 20 times in a row. She’s excited that she knows it and can sing with everyone. And I am proud. On to the next holiday!

Girls are supposed to be made of sugar and spice, right? Unfortunately, not all of them are. My 3 year-old began preschool this past January. She loves school. She attends every day in the morning. In fact, she recently asked if she could stay all day. She’s learning a lot and we are pleased.

A girl at school, who is 4, has decided that my daughter is going to be her “pet project.” Well, this girl bullies my daughter so much, that lately she tells me she is afraid to go to school because she doesn’t know what this girl will do.

It started early on. My daughter is very easy going, and she doesn’t tattle. She lets kids bother her and won’t say a word. And, being the new girl, she was an easy target. One day my daughter came home and said “Angela (not the girl’s real name) said she was going to throw me in the garbage can.” I told her not to pay attention to Angela, that Angela wasn’t much bigger than her and couldn’t possibly throw her in the garbage can. I also told her to tell the teacher whenever Angela bothered her. She refuses.

As time has gone on, my daughter has begun to choose her outfits and accessories, based on what is acceptable to “Angela.” She says she can’t wear a bow or headband because Angela will take it, or she’ll keep pulling off her head. WTF? Again, I told my daughter to bring all of this to the teacher’s attention when it occurs. Nope.

For one week, Angela and her sister were sick and not in school. My daughter was so happy. Actually, I think that was the week she requested to stay at school all day. As soon as “Angela” returned, she began to not want to go to school, or would insist that I come at recess time so Angela couldn’t bother her. I sat her down for a little chat. I explained to her, that sometimes people are not nice, and when they are not nice, we should stay away from them. There are plenty of other kids to play with, and I told her that if Angela wanted to play with her, to politely say no and walk away.

Every morning we’d drive to school and my daughter would ask if I was going to be around at school (since I volunteer sometimes), in case Angela was to bother her. When I’d say no, she would get upset.

One day last week, we’d arrived at school a bit early, and the kids gather with all the teachers in another room until it’s time for class to start. In front of her teacher and Angela’s teacher, I tried to get my daughter to say something about what Angela does. Finally she said, “I can’t wear the bow Mommy. Take it home, so Angela doesn’t take it or throw it.” The teacher quickly dismissed it as kids’ play. I thought, for now I’m going to let it go. I love the teacher and the program. In less than 3 months, my daughter has learned more than I ever imagined. I don’t think she’d just blow it off, but if the bullying is not observable to the teacher and the child being bullied doesn’t complain, then what can she do? Since my daughter provides a daily report – and she’s expressing fear of this girl –  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it or try to do something about it.

On Fridays, I help prepare hot lunch. This past week, I witnessed Miss Angela in all her glory. I was holding my 13 month-old, and a bunch of the kids came over to see her. I squatted down so they could be at eye level. Angela came over, looked me square in the eye, with more attitude than most people I know, and said to me, “You go stand over there. I’m going to play with the baby!” I looked at her and said “Excuse me?” to which she replied, “That’s what I said.” Well, I thought I was going to lose it. But I blew it off. She’s 4 for pete’s sake. I encouraged the other kids to come closer to play with the baby. Angela was getting visibly upset and started telling the kids to move out of the way – even pushing them – because she wanted to play with the baby and they better move.  When she got near the baby I stood up and told her that we were leaving. She gave me the dirtiest look. It gave me the feeling that no one has ever told her no or not done as she said. I left there thinking, her parents are so nice. Her sister is so sweet. How does this happen?

One day last week, my daughter told me she was afraid to go to school, because Angela would be there. This afternoon when I picked her up, her teacher told me that my daughter was crying a little at lunch time, and a little apprehensive about playing with the kids, but then the teacher asked one of the kids to take her by the hand, and she went to play without any problem. I told her that this morning she didn’t want to go to school, because she’s afraid of Angela. The teacher again dismissed it, and said that the girl was not a problem. I told her that the girl is bossy and I have witnessed it for myself. She insisted that it wasn’t a problem. I don’t agree. I don’t want my daughter to be afraid to go to school. And you can’t exactly approach a parent about their child, because we all feel that our kids are perfect. I don’t know about you, but mine certainly aren’t. They’re kids for crying out loud! They’re trying to figure it all out. They’re learning to be independent, and pushing the boundaries whenever possible. They want to see how much they can get away with, but it’s our job to put them back in reality. And I don’t mean with physical force.

At the same time, I have to figure out how to get her to stand up for herself. How do I get her to not be a bully herself? I guess we’ll have to keep working on this one. There’s no answer. Hey, where’s the instruction manual? I wish it were as easy as saying we won’t play with her, but she goes to the same school. We can’t avoid her. All the other kids this year are nice, but there’s bound to be a bully next year, or in an activity she goes to. It’s inevitable – we all have to deal with bullies.  Someday Angela will get bullied, and she won’t know what hit her. Hopefully, when the time comes, she will do the right thing.

As of Friday, our bully was behaving for most of the week, though this morning my daughter said she couldn’t wear a bow in her hair because Angela will pull it out. Then she told me she might play with her at recess. Come on! I don’t get it. Is she a glutton for punishment?

In yesterday’s Sunday insert in the Chicago Tribune, there was an article on bullying. We read it with enthusiasm. We’ve read the book Purplicious, which is mentioned in the article, but I think the moral of the story is a little lost at this age. I guess all I can do at this point, is to keep telling my daughter to stay away from the bully – do not go by her, do not try to play with her – and if she bothers her to tell the teacher immediately. And hope the bully will grow out of this stage quickly.

I can always remind myself that there are only six more weeks of school left.

Why can’t we all play nice?

OK, ladies. You know what I’m talking about! Your brain has never been the same since getting pregnant, and it doesn’t get all that much better after giving birth! It has an actual name now, to confirm that something is really going on. It isn’t that we lost our minds (well, sort of). It’s a documented phenomenon called Momnesia. Yes, you read correctly; short for Mom – amnesia.  Some refer to it as Mommy Brain. (At least they didn’t call it Momzeimers!) Those darn pregnancy hormones feed off your brain and it’s never the same. Detail-oriented individuals start forgetting things. If we don’t keep extensive lists, we forget to do things. I once heard a new mom say she went to the Walgreens, parked the car, and she got to the door of the store before she realized she’d left her son in the car!

Thank God that hasn’t happened to me, and I’ve harmed no living things due to my Momnesia.

You should see the lists that I keep: work stuff, household reminders, family things that I must do. People laugh (no moms laugh, cause they know!), but if I didn’t do this, I’d forget to do the things. Before having kids, I was always very detailed-oriented and prided myself on my memory. This Momnesia can lead to some embarrassing moments! I was always good with names, but now I forget. I’ve forgotten to call people on their birthdays or other important days.

It started early on when I was pregnant with my now 3 year-old daughter.  I read about Momnesia, and I prayed it wouldn’t happen to me. Sure enough. After she was born, it didn’t get much better. I asked other moms, “Do you ever get it back?” The responses were a resounding “no!” One mom said it took about 10 years but she got some of her memory capacity back.

I write for a local ethnic newspaper. One of the first times I went out after the birth of my first child, was to cover an exhibit opening at a museum. There was a man there that I had written an extensive profile piece on months before. We got to talking, and he mentioned something about “going back home.” I asked, “Where are you from?” He looked at me like I was nuts. “St. Louis,” he said. “Did you forget?” I was quick with my response. “I’ve done so many articles that sometimes the details escape me. It takes a minute sometime to jog my memory.” Good response, but I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want to admit that it was a case of Momnesia.

You’re shaking your head about now, and thinking about the things that you have forgotten. Let me count the ways. Have you ever gone to the store for something specific and got other things, but not that item? Yup. Have you started to do laundry and then forgot it in the machine for a couple of days? You bet. In those early days following the birth of a child, have you forgotten when you showered last? Oh yeah. And forgotten which side you last nursed the baby on, or even when? Uh-huh. I had to keep a chart of when I nursed, how long and which side and even charted the naps, cause I couldn’t even tell you when I’d had a drink of water last. Yeah, you’re with me. You’ve been there.

My youngest is now 13 months old, and I was thinking it was getting better. I’d started writing more, began taking on some freelance work, and started to promote this blog. Yeah, get ready for this one.

Momnesia Strikes Again!

Last week I set up a fan page on Facebook to promote my blog. I set it up wrong! I set it up as a local business. It was a little vague in terms of the category selection, and I thought, well, I’d like this to be a business – someday a book, ads on the blog, maybe even merchandise! Ok, I’m dreaming a little here. But the intention is there – I want this to go somewhere. So I set it up as a “local business.” I’d reviewed other promotional pages and they said “company,” so I thought that category was the closest to that. Um, no.

After doing a little research, I found that it belongs in another category, which would allow me options on the page that I can’t do under the current category. Right now, you cannot change the page’s category. You have to delete and start again. WHAT?

As of April 8, I had 19 fans  – some I’d invited and others I had not. I did invite a lot more people.

So then the conundrum…do I tell people I screwed up or just leave it until someone at Facebook says, “Sorry lady,” and shuts the page down? Hmmm….I feel like an absolute dufus. Had it not been for Momnesia, Mommy Brain – whatever you want to call it – this wouldn’t have happened, I am sure. Did I say I felt stupid? How embarrassing!

Big sticky note taped above my desk this morning: ATTENTION – MOMNESIA IN PROGRESS: Check, check, check, check, check….50 times if you have to!

Ok, so I swallowed my pride and set up a new page over the weekend. One by one, my fans are making it over. Thanks, ladies. You’ve been there too!

I’m holding out hope that someday we’ll get our memories back. Ahhh…we knew after having kids, we’d never be the same – in more ways than one! Now to go kiss my little brain zappers. What were their names again? Just kidding! I wouldn’t trade them for my old memory back anyway.


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