Kat's Blog of Random Events

I know I’m not ready to have children right now, but after I had a miscarriage 2 years ago, I’ve wondered if I should do anything to help others have children. I was thinking of being an egg donor, but because I only have so many eggs, I think I’d like to wait to be an egg donor until after I’ve had my own children. So my next thought was, what about being a surrogate parent and carrying another couple’s baby?

I know that the decision to become a surrogate mother should be an extremely long and well-thought out process, of which I am only in the early stages, but my initial thoughts are that as heartbreaking as it may be to lose something that you’ve been caring for for 9 months, doesn’t that also make it that much more rewarding to know that you’re giving another couple a chance that they otherwise never would have had?

Does anybody have thoughts on this? Has anyone ever been a surrogate or used a surrogate mother? What can you tell me about your experience? And does anyone know the best place to do it? I’m looking to do it somewhere that caters to both heterosexual and LGBT couples.

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Upward Over the Mountain

One of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard is called “Upward Over the Mountain” by Iron and Wine. This song always manages to bring me comfort when I hit rough times. Maybe it’s because my mother and I are so close. Maybe it’s because I was somewhat of a wild teenager and I had to keep telling my mother not to worry. Maybe it’s because the line about the dog having her pups in the pantry reminds me of my miscarriage. But for whatever the reason, I love this song, and it brings me peace in times of sorrow. It lets me cry when I need to, and it makes me smile when I am down.

I may even get a tattoo of birds flying over a mountain in memory of everything this song means to me.

 

Mother don’t worry, I killed the last snake that lived in the creek bed
Mother don’t worry, I’ve got some money I saved for the weekend
Mother remember being so stern with that girl who was with me?
Mother remember the blink of an eye when I breathed through your body?

So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds, flying upward over the mountain

Mother I made it up from the bruise on the floor of this prison
Mother I lost it, all of the fear of the Lord I was given
Mother forget me now that the creek drank the cradle you sang to
Mother forgive me, I sold your car for the shoes that I gave you

So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten
Sons could be birds, taken broken up to the mountain

Mother don’t worry, I’ve got a coat and some friends on the corner
Mother don’t worry, she’s got a garden we’re planting together
Mother remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry?
Blood on the floor, fleas on their paws,
And you cried ’til the morning

So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten
Sons are like birds, flying always over the mountain

It’s the little things. Pregnant women make me cry. Seeing a woman yell at her toddler in the mall makes me angry. Why are you yelling? Don’t you know how lucky you are to even have a kid? In my Methods of Social Research class we fill out fake surveys so we can analyze data, and the questions will be seemingly simple things like “What is your gender?” “How old are you?” “What state were you born in?” “How many children do you have?”

But I can’t seem to get through that question. How many children do you have. I don’t know. How many children DO I have? How many children did I give birth to? How many children do I have walking around? How many children call me mommy? How many tiny hands have grabbed my finger? How hard was it to sit there waiting for the doctor knowing I wasn’t pregnant? Right before the 2nd anniversary of my miscarriage you’re going to ask me how many children I have?

How many children do I have? One. But I’m forced to say NONE. That I have no children. I’m forced to sit in that class and answer in a way that doesn’t upset everyone in the class and make them uncomfortable and send me to the bathroom to cry.

I’m certainly not the only person with this problem. I know I’m not the only one who has had a miscarriage (or infertility, or stillbirth, or suffered the death of a child). But two years ago on November 16th, I had the worst day of my life. After finding out I was pregnant just two weeks earlier, I then had to unlearn everything that I had learned.

Last year for my anniversary, I took the day off, thought of my daughter, and donated blood. It seemed like the right thing to do. I’m not sure why, I’m not sure I’ll ever know why. I don’t have any plans for this year. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to think about it as much. Which is a good thing. I think obsessing over it for months beforehand like I did last year would be a mistake. Because I’m not going to forget about it. I can’t forget about it. It’s the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.

So my dearest Leslie Ann, what can I do for you? How should I remember you? What’s the best way to preserve my only memory of you? I guess my question for other parents who are suffering is, what do you do on your anniversaries?

I have a really good friend who has lost over 200 pounds, and I am SO PROUD OF HIM! I want to say that right off the bat because I don’t want this blog to be taken the wrong way, by him or anyone else. I was reading his blog today, and I just can’t imagine how hard he’s worked to get where he is, and how hard he must continue to work to stay where he is now. So Kenny, I love you and you know it! At the end of his blog though, he encourages everyone to tell people how good they look when they lose weight. I agree that a lot of times, congratulating people on their weight loss can be a positive influence on someone whose weight loss will lead to them living a healthier lifestyle.

Now this isn’t something I’m used to sharing with people, but I think enough time has passed and I need to finally come out and say it, mostly because I lie to myself and pretend that it never really happened, or that it was all because of the medication I took and I had no control over it because that’s not true. I was doing it to myself and I was doing it on purpose. So here goes: I used to have an eating disorder. I was obsessed with how much I ate and when I ate. I was terrified of being fat. I thought about it all the time and looked at other people’s bodies and was scared of being like them. People of average weight scared me. Sometimes I took my medicine when I didn’t need it so it would be easier to not eat during the day. As I got older, I also learned how to make myself throw up so I could eat when I was out with friends and nobody would know anything was wrong. Then, when I got home I would throw up, or if I couldn’t go home, I would excuse myself and go to the bathroom. I honestly don’t think anybody ever caught on because I had been thin my whole life.

I think because I was SO young (9-13) everyone tended to ignore it and pretend like it didn’t exist. We don’t think of children that young getting an eating disorder. We all had reasons for why I didn’t eat much. I was busy, it was my meds, I didn’t like the food, I just wasn’t hungry, etc. I would often say “I already ate” even when it wasn’t true. I remember my friend’s parents being offended if I didn’t eat much of the dinner they offered. I can’t even tell you how many times I heard the words “Are you sure you had enough?” My mom tried to feed me all the time because I ate so little. Any time she could get me to eat cheese and crackers or yogurt or a cookie she would jump at the opportunity, but even she didn’t see the symptoms.

I think the other thing that made it easy to hide was that as a kid I danced almost every night, and in the classical ballet community, it is normal and even expected that you will be of normal weight or on the thin side. I am NOT however blaming the dancing community for my eating disorder. While certain environments may make it easier to be thin, this is not to say that my dance teachers were walking around telling me I was fat and I needed to lose weight. The eating disorders occurred in my head and were not a result of the people around me.

I think after a few years when I realized that I barely had enough energy to keep dancing and my lifestyle became harder to maintain, I slowly realized that I needed to eat more and things started to change for me, both mentally and physically. Over the next few years, I managed to maintain a pretty healthy, average, and normal weight, and was sometimes even a little over what I needed to be, but at a healthy level.

During my freshman year of college as things started getting stressful, I found myself slipping back into my old ways; eating less, not eating for days at a time, and forcing myself to throw up, especially after eating unhealthy foods. By the end of the spring semester, I had lost so much weight that I could see my ribs in the mirror. I had a pair of pants that used to be really tight on me that I could slip on without unbuttoning. While at this point my weight wasn’t necessarily at an unhealthy level and I didn’t have a full-blown eating disorder, I lost a significant amount of weight right before finals week. After several days of studying and no calorie intake, I passed out under a tree on campus, and was woken up by two guys who were really worried about me. They offered to call an ambulance, but I told them I was fine. I went back to my dorm room and spent the next 2 days so weak that I couldn’t get out of bed. Luckily it was the weekend and I wasn’t missing any class. The next day I called my parents and told them I was sick. They drove me to the hospital where I got an IV.

After I had some fluids in me, I felt better instantly. Once again lying about my behavior, I said I didn’t know what was wrong and I just hadn’t been feeling well lately. After that, I realized that it was getting serious and if I didn’t want to have an eating disorder, I had to make sure I ate every day. It came slowly. Some days I had to force myself just to eat a cup of yogurt over the course of a few hours. But eating SOMETHING every day has been the most helpful part of my recovery. I think for the most part it also keeps me from binge-eating. Today I am doing well and that pair of pants is once again tight on me. I try to keep up a positive body image and not compare myself to other people who’s body chemistry is different than mine and whose brain chemistry doesn’t make them prone to eating disorders.

So the point of this blog is, as someone who had an eating disorder, I have to caution against congratulating EVERYONE on their weight loss. As I got thinner and thinner, I got so many compliments about the weight I was losing and how much college agreed with me. None of my family or friends seemed concerned. And getting compliments only makes keeping the disordered eating habits easier to justify to yourself.

My advice: Congratulate people whose weight loss or weight gain will make their lives easier. Don’t congratulate people if their eating habits are unhealthy. And find help for someone if you think they might have a problem.

Just Vote

It’s November 4th. In America, there are 2 days until the election. My advice to EVERYONE is to VOTE! It doesn’t take long, and the issues are important. Our Presidents make decisions about our taxes, appointing Supreme Court Justices, our rights to control our own bodies, our educations, and how we as a country spend our money.

The biggest thing I hear is that people don’t like Obama or Romney. Well in that case watch the 3rd party debates. It’s like an hour and a half, but you can almost certainly find one of these candidates you agree with. This debate features Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Virgil Goode of the Constitution Party, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party, and Jill Stein of the Green Party. 

But the Presidential office is not the only seat or issue being voted on. Things that are being voted on are senators and representatives for the U.S. Congress, in Virginia: state constitutional amendments, bond issues, and parks, and Marylanders are voting on important issues of Casinos, the Dream Act, and Marriage Equality. You might think your voice doesn’t matter for the Presidential election, but remember, that is not the only election!

My biggest issues are: 1) vote and 2) be informed. Voting makes no difference if you’re not informed. Don’t rely on your friends and family, political ads, mail you receive from campaigns, or partisan information on the internet. Watch the debates. Find your own sources, question their credibility, and then see what they have to say.

Your vote DOES count. Even if you’re liberal in a conservative state, or vice versa, nothing is ever going to change in that state unless you vote!

Question 6

So lately I’ve been working on Question 6, which in the simplest words would allow gay marriage in Maryland. The referendum allows gays and lesbians to get a civil marriage license at a courthouse, or get married in a church that supports the marriage, but also protects religious freedom. No church has to allow any two people to get married if they do not see fit, whether those people are heterosexual or homosexual.

Like many people, I look forward to the day when I’ll get to wear a white dress and my dad will walk me down the aisle. I don’t understand the problems with gay marriage if it doesn’t trample on your religious beliefs. What difference does it make if the person at the end of the aisle is wearing a suit or a dress?

Besides, look how happy these people are:

How could you want to deny them their right to get married? These people are so happy! Don’t you want to be happy and don’t you want other people to be happy? I know I’m young and ambitious, but I hope there never comes a day when I feel it is my right to deny other people their rights.

Maryland is only one state, but if we can pass question 6, it gives me hope that gay marriage will pass in other states as well.

One reason I want gay marriage to pass is that, as a teacher, there are kids in the guards and bands that I teach who are gay. What am I supposed to tell them? That they are worth less as people than the people in the band who happened to be born heterosexual and their rights will be denied because of it? I have no answers for them.

The good news from tonight is that most people I talked to were in favor of question 6. But we have to keep fighting, because this is a fight we could lose. And that’s a terrible future for this country’s children.

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