So who does he look like?

I’ve been hearing a lot lately how much my son, Royce, looks like me.  I completely disagree – I think he has my smile, but otherwise looks like a miniature version of my very handsome husband.  In my irrational pregnant brain reactions – because sometimes I find these remarks sweet, and other times frustrating – I figured now is as good of a time as any to investigate this desire we have to find similarities in looks within family members.Image

My sister Tracie and I, in our opinions, do not look a thing alike.  She looks like our mom, and I look more like my dad, although as I’ve gotten older I’m an interesting mix of all.  Tracie has the family nose, and therefore looks like a lot of my mother’s family.  I have some stranger’s nose and look like no one – not even Royce, who has his dad’s nose.

Tracie and I hear often how much we look alike – and we are just perplexed.  Do you see it?  Something we are alike in is voice – we sound almost identical in speaking voice, although I’m generally louder and Tracie has sharper comments.  We also share in many interests and personality traits, and these have made me feel very connected to her as a sister.  Looks, however, have always been very dissimilar.

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It used to bother me that I didn’t look like anyone in our family – I mean I do vaguely, but nothing like other family members similarities.  I know for a fact my parents are mine and I’m not adopted, which made it even more weird to look so dissimilar from my sibling and cousins.  As I’ve grown up, I have become accustomed to it, and even find myself sharing tons of similarities with adopted members of my family – and it occurs to me that looks are the least important of family connections.

So the question is, why do we all place so much importance on who the baby looks like?  I recently heard myself saying a friend’s daughter was a mirror image of her aunt – which is ok as her aunt is beautiful – but I thought afterwards, if she looked like nobody, what would be the problem?

I am guessing looks used to be the way to prove paternity – and if that was the case, my sister would have been an awfully suspect child – she looked just like mom’s family from the beginning, and her traits from dad’s side came out later – would my mom have been questioned if my dad had suspicions?  Lucky for them if there were, we now have paternity tests.

My mom has said from the beginning, Royce looks like Royce every time we attribute a look to someone specific.  This promotes calmness in me – as I think it gives him individuality and a sense that no matter how he looks, he’s ours.  

For those of us who don’t look much like family, whether by chance of genetics or because of adoption, we must remember that even though looking like ancestors is a fun way to remember our history, being part of a family is more than genetics, it’s about the love we share with each other, and how we show our love honors God, as we are gifts to one another from God.  Those bonds of love mean so much more than DNA, and I hope I can convey that message to all those in my family – past, present and future!

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Planning for second baby

We are planning the birth of our second child.  I’m 24 weeks along, it’s a boy, and as of right now, super healthy, and I’m feeling great!  When I say we are planning the birth, I feel a little funny – we thought we had the birth of our first son planned, and it absolutely did not go the way we wanted it to – every intervention possible was used, and he was born via c-section.  It was a hard bit of emotions to deal with – I was so happy that my baby was here and he was healthy, but I was so upset that the birth had gone completely the way I didn’t want it to – It was frustrating and upsetting, but very few people would listen to the fact that I was upset about how he came out – he was healthy, after all.  In the end, that is the most important, and I understand that with this baby, we are at higher risk for a c-section and certain safety measures must be taken, but I want to make a greater effort this time – I really want to try my hardest to exhaust all possibilities, and not just give in to a c-section.

The first step has been to find a doctor that supports the decision to go VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).  My doctor from my first child said I might as well just elect to do a c-section, even after I told her I didn’t want to.  Some fellow students who had been mothers talked me into finding a second opinion – and I thank God they were there.  I feel much more comfortable with our current doctor.  She isn’t promising that we won’t have a c-section, but she is supportive of us trying for a VBAC, and has given us options which help me feel more empowered.

The second step has been to find a doula we like who will help us on our journey.  We have done this – our first meeting with her was last night.  She is very understanding and supportive, and encouraging us to own this experience.  Margaret, the doula, has said I need to “know that my body can do this”.  This is something I feel incredibly lacking – it’s just so easy to think why try if I’m just going to have to do another cesarean?  Margaret makes it sound like it is very possible – and she’s seen multiple women have VBAC’s – plus I know how incredibly powerful the mind is when it comes to these scenarios, so for now, I need to find the confidence in my body to be able to do what it’s built for.

Confidence in my body is a laughable thing – When I was younger I was skinny and awkward.  Too long, no curves, and so clumsy I’m surprise I haven’t broken any bones even to this day!  Now that I’m older, joints are sore, and my middle is larger than my hips and chest – plus I’ve always been built a bit like a man with strong broad shoulders and sturdy rib cage and thick waist, narrow hips.  How can something that has always felt so un-womanly to me become something I trust to make the baby come out how he’s supposed to?  Not to mention with my first child, it all went wrong, and we weren’t able to get him to latch for breastfeeding.  I pumped instead – produced tons of milk but never had that bonding.

So my assignment from Margaret is to write the birth story for our first – with my husband – detailing the good, the bad and the ugly.  This shouldn’t be hard- no matter how upsetting I find something, I’m able to recount it well.  The next task is to write out the ideal birth plan as if we’d never had a child.  This could be harder – I’m a big fan of not trying to push what shouldn’t happen, even though I know how much I want this to go the way I have envisioned it.  I am interested to see what my husband’s input is, and I’m interested to see if I put this off like so many other things I should be doing!

Talking about it has helped, and supportive friends have helped too!  I’m struggling with people not being able to understand that I desperately want the baby born that way, but I know they want me to focus on the positive – a healthy baby – in case we don’t get our way.  For now, however, I plan to be positive and instead of saying we are trying for a VBAC, that we are going to do a VBAC.  After all, we were going to have the first one naturally – nobody plans for a c-section, it’s just something that happens.  This time, however, we are going to do things the way I planned to help improve the way he is born and how we feel after he’s here!Image

Momming and Studying

There’s nothing like being a student – as many people know.  There is also nothing like being a mother – as many other people know.  Being a student while being a mother is an entirely different phenomenon.  I have been slowly learning over the past year how to be a good student while being a good mom.  The thing that has helped me the most?  A good partner, who is also a good dad.

I am often asked how I do it – and I must say I’m not entirely sure, except I know that God has a hand in helping me make it through day to day challenges.  My son is a joy, but he is also a toddler, and every once in awhile he makes a giant mess of something – and my patience is tested, especially if I have anything coming up in regards to school work.

For example, the week before finals, my son came into my bedroom with something I didn’t recognize until too late – an open bag of powdered sugar.  He proceeded to shake the entire bag out onto the floor.  I have never experienced air that smelled and tasted sweet until that day – however, the mess left behind left little room for enjoying the new sensation.  I called for my husband to help – when he saw the mess, he left immediately (to avoid our son seeing his laughter.)    After it was clean, it was a cute story, but all I could think at the time was, I don’t have any spare time to clean him, clean the room, and get my final preparation complete.
After the initial upset, I was able to get things taken care of, and a sweet reassuring smile helped me remember that this is what God’s creation looks like when it’s learning the ins and outs of life.  I hope he remembers in the future that powdered sugar belongs in tasty treats – not all over the floor and ourselves!

My son, after emptying the bag of powdered sugar in my bedroom.

Sometimes I feel guilty about not devoting enough time to being studios, especially seeing other people devoting a lot more time to homework than I am – but I must admit I’ve always been a bit of a lazy student, and my son has helped give me reason to take breaks – to play, to clean, and of course, to eat!

Proverbs 19:11 speaks directly to this:

A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

God overlooks my offenses often, making it important, even if not always easy, for me to overlook mishaps caused by loved ones, and to remember the joy of their presence in my life.

Blessings to all this beautiful day – and remember, those things you cannot change are best dealt with patience and understanding.