This Blog is Still a Thing *Hiatus Update*

Lots has been going on, my dear readers (if any of you are still out there). But I promise that I haven’t quit blogging just because I’m pregnant and I have a toddler now. Although that’s a big part of it.

We’re in the process of selling our house and buying a new one. That’s pretty big.

When I initially stopped blogging, though, there was one major reason: my Grandmother was extremely sick. She had a fall, and had already been battling Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s for a while. When she was first admitted to the hospital, our son had RSV so we weren’t able to go up there right away. A week or so later, we went up to the hospital every day.

Before this, the extent of my knowledge of Alzheimer’s was that you forget things. Sad things, like who your family members are and who you are. But after watching this disease, I see that those are dumb things to focus on. Eventually, you forget things that are actually important. Like how to eat. How to swallow. Eventually, how to breathe. No one talks about that. I didn’t know that was what was going to happen.

My Grandmother died at her home, just three days before her son’s (my dad’s) birthday. And I thought, just three more days. Just a few more months and she would have celebrated 60 years of marriage. The obituary says 59. Just a few more months and she would have met another great grandbaby. But no matter what, we’d always be asking for just one more. Just one more birthday, just one more Thanksgiving dinner. Just one more Christmas. Just one more anniversary. Just one more Sunday morning at church. Forever and ever and ever.

So that was in May. And since then there have been times I could have sat down and wrote a post and said life is busy and I’m pregnant but that’s not the real reason I went on hiatus. So blogging got all tied up in that loss emotionally, even if logically the two weren’t related.

Today was the last day of my Granddaddy’s estate sale. I got to take home a lot of my Grandmother’s clothes, and soon he’ll be moving to a smaller house. He used to be a real estate broker, so it’s been fun to talk about all that stuff with him while we both search for new homes and new beginnings.

This is a video I made for her memorial service. I wanted to share it here because it’s special to me, and we’re still missing her a lot right now.

More blogging soon I hope – we may be actually moving very soon, and of course the baby is due at the end of September. So blogging will probably be erratic and random for a little while, but I’m still here, and this blog is still a thing. I’m sorry I totally missed the WEGO Health awards this year, that’s always so fun and I encourage you to check out the nominees and support them because WEGO always finds the coolest people.

Talk soon!

~Rachel

Book Review: The Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

If you saw my review of The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, you know how excited I was to read this. But this review will probably be much shorter and less glowing than that one. In a nutshell, this book is a bit superfluous. And coming from me, that’s saying something. I love reading and researching and will jump on just about any chance to do so, but in this case? Well, let’s jump right in.

There’s nothing really wrong with this book, it’s just kind of boring. Most of the information in it is a retread of info found in The Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, and I would recommend reading that over this. Once you get past the first few months of having a newborn, there’s a lot less to worry about. Or at least, there’s different things to worry about. But you’re no longer in that stage where sleeping, eating, and falling are life or death situations. Once your little one’s a bit older, you rely more on common sense than needing to look up what to do.

The Pregnancy Guide’s chapters on the first few months offer great coverage of breastfeeding, immunizations, sleep training, and all those things. This guide really just elaborates, and I found the elaboration to not really be necessary.

One thing I did really enjoy about this book were the parts on what it’s like to be a new parent emotionally. It’s very cathartic to read that your feelings, especially negative ones and “baby blues” ones, are common and normal. And it offers good ways to cope. But again, rather than recommending this book, I’d lean more towards suggesting finding a book that exclusively focuses on parenting and feelings.

The more utilitarian information is all stuff that you’re gonna hear from your pediatrician. Developmental milestones, when to get immunizations, introducing solid foods, these are all going to be covered if you’re seeing a pediatrician regularly. Don’t replace that with a book, babies need all those checkups each month. Your pediatrician will tell you when your little one can start table food, and you can judge if you want to go ahead or wait on it.

If you don’t have a communicative pediatrician and can’t switch, or if you don’t have other mom friends or your own parents around to talk to, then maybe this book would be helpful to you, but honestly, once the baby is out and growing, you’re going to get floods of information from everywhere. From programs like WIC where you have to attend occasional classes, to alarmist facebook posts from well-meaning in-laws, you’re going to hear about most everything. Plus, that first year goes by so fast, you’ll hardly have time to research each step (or read a book, for that matter).

So yeah. My consensus is basically “meh.” There’s nothing bad or wrong about this book, it’s just kind of dull and an extra thing that you don’t really need to be fussing with in your child’s first year.

Sorry this wasn’t more exciting to read, haha. Meh reviews are hard. I’ve got a few more parenting/pregnancy books to read since I’m unexpectedly pregnant with #2 on the way. Stay tuned!

Sometimes People Suck

I love participating in WEGO Health’s twitter chats (follow @wegohealth on twitter to check it out). And each time, no matter what the topic that week is, the subject of losing friends seems to always come up. Chronic illness, whether physical or mental, tends to encroach on our social lives and that can bring out the worst in people. We don’t want to cancel plans or spend all of our time talking about our illness, but when we do, it would be nice to be met with understanding. Unfortunately, it can often break a friendship or even a romantic relationship.

Sometimes one too many cancellations causes a friend to give up on hanging out with you. Sometimes one too many suggestions to “think positively” or “try yoga” or “maybe if you just…” causes you to hit the unfriend button. Sometimes, after an awkward encounter with your illness, a friend or loved one “ghosts” you, falling off the face of the earth. Maybe they can’t deal with facing the idea of mortality when they see an incurable illness. Maybe their desire to “fix” you has made you feel unloved or unvalued, because as much as our illnesses don’t define us, they’re still a part of us. Maybe it was simply more baggage than they signed up for when they decided to be your friend/significant other.

It’s harsh. But it’s also true. Sometimes, people just suck.

A while back, I wrote a post on the story of Job, specifically looking at misguided attempts at “comforting” friends in hard times. Job is a bible story I think many people with chronic illness can relate to, and there’s verses that apply to losing friends as well.

Check out these excerpts from Job 19:

“He has alienated my family from me;

my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.

My relatives have gone away;

my closest friends have forgotten me…”

“My breath is offensive to my wife;

I am loathsome to my own family…”

“All my intimate friends detest me;

those I love have turned against me.”

When we go through something really tough, like an illness, sometimes it feels like everyone abandons you right at the moment you need them the most. Loved ones may be visibly drained by your experience, making you feel like a burden. When you stay home ill, it’s easy to feel forgotten. Illness is alienating. Healthy friends don’t know how you feel, and maybe you don’t know how they feel, either.

A more modern quotation that captures this can be found in the song “People Just Ain’t No Good” by Nick Cave.

“It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad.
They can comfort you, some even try.
They nurse you when you’re ill of health.
They bury you when you go and die.

It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad.
They’d stick by you if they could.
Aw but that’s just bull, baby.
People just ain’t no good.”

***

I know that it’s not everyone. I often say that, especially when it comes to dating, illness can be a good thing because it weeds out the insincere. At the end of the day, you’re left with people of heartier stock. True friends, true love. But when you care about the ones you lose, you don’t want to hear that.
Sometimes, people just suck.
Listen to some moody music, wallow in it, get mad, get sad, but then remember the true ones. Find them, because they’re out there.
But if you’re reading an article called People Suck, you’re not here for that, so yeah, people do suck. Most people.
But you don’t suck.

BIG NEWS

So as some of you know, it was really hard for us to get pregnant with Junior. It took two years, medical assistance, and lots of prayer before God blessed us with our miracle baby. But the blessing kept on going…

Miracle #2 coming September 2017

#spoonieragecomiccontest WINNER!

Alright, a month is up and we have our winner! Congratulations to Claire at Living, Being, Doing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!

I’ll be in contact with you soon to get you your prize!

Stay tuned for more posts about living with chronic illness, contests, reviews, and BIG NEWS.