Monthly Archives: May 2009

Remembering A Child Lost

I received this poignant email about a heartbreaking topic, but Kelly has found inspiration in her loss, and that’s the message I’d like to pass on to all of you:

Dr. Laura:
I listened to a call you took from a woman who had lost a baby (a twin), and wondered how to handle this as she tried to go forward in life.  I thought I’d share how my family has coped with our loss.

My son was stillborn almost 13 years ago now.  He was my first baby, and the loss was devastating, especially since it was such a struggle to conceive him at all.  Three months after the loss I became pregnant again (huge surprise!).  How could I be happy for this baby when I was still mourning my son?  It was scary and hard, but I was determined to notice what would become good memories, so that I would have them to share with this child as she was growing up and wanting to hear how happy we were as we anticipated her arrival.  But I still struggled each year as the anniversary of my son’s birth/death approached. 

And then I read a story about a woman who had been raped and left for dead.  After years of agonizing fear and dread as the anniversary of her attack approached each year, she decided to do something to change all that.  She used that date each year to celebrate her life, and the fact that she still had it.  By this time, we had already shared with our daughter that she had a brother in heaven who watched over her.  I decided to take that a step further.

Rather than trying to cover up or explain my sadness at that time each year, I decided to make it a time of remembrance and appreciation.  If nothing else, my son’s death taught me just how fleeting this life is, and there is not a moment to take for granted. It took me a long time to get to this place, but now, on that day each year, my husband, my daughter and I take that day off (no matter what) just to spend time with each other doing something fun, and remembering how appreciative we are that we have each other.

We’ve been camping, spent a day at the park, went to the beach…anything that immersed us in each other.  And we take time out to remember our son, and thank him for that awesome lesson.  When it comes to the loss of a child, I really think every person has to find his or her own way.  I just thought I’d share ours, in hopes that it might help someone else.

Kelly

Quote of the Week

“…Our servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace-many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families.  They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve.  They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth-that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”
               – President John F. Kennedy, 1963

Tomorrow is Armed Forces Day.  Be sure to thank our men and women in uniform.

What It Means To Be A Warrior

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day, and this month is Military Appreciation Month.  When I got this email, I knew this was the week to share it with all of you:

Dr. Laura:
My 15 year old son belongs to the Civil Air Patrol, which is an offshoot of the Air Force.  We had been talking recently about what it means for him to be in the military, the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly that goes with it.  I just received this email from one of our deployed members that sums up what it means to be a warrior, and thought I would share it with you. 

From one warrior-raising mom to another,
Judi

And here’s the email she got:

A few of you have expressed your thanks and feelings regarding my deployment.  Of course, it’s been a resounding “don’t go!”  But I would like you to take the time and ask:  what would happen if I didn’t go?

The simple answer is that someone else would go in my place.  This isn’t an acceptable alternative for me.  How could I expect someone else to go in harm’s way in my place?

Another answer, one I believe more important, is this:  who would protect my fellow brothers and sisters in arms while they do their jobs?  Six years ago, I put up my right hand and swore an oath to defend my country.  And that country includes every airman, sailor, soldier and Marine.  The job that Oscar [his bomb-sniffing dog] and I have is just that:  protecting my brothers and sisters so they might return safely. 

When I returned from my last deployment a year ago, I had the honor of flying with an Angel Flight.  For those of you who don’t know, an Angel Flight is the designation for an aircraft carrying our fallen service members.  It was unfortunate for them to return in such a state.  And I knew, in the back of my mind, that if more people like me (and Oscar) were there, that just maybe, these service members would not have to return like this.

The oath that I took is different from the oath you take as a CAP cadet, in that many others stake their lives in the trust that I will keep my promise.  Sticking to that promise is important to me.  But sticking to your promise is just as important.  It shows how you, as an individual, value your own promise to yourself, your community, state and nation.

I know what my oath means:  that I am prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice if need be to protect my fellow service members and Americans.  I’d like you to take the time to reflect on YOUR promise.  What does your promise mean to YOU?  Can YOU count on your own promise?  Can OTHERS count on it?

Thank you everyone for the gifts, support, and thanks you have given me.  Once I arrive in Iraq and get my mailing address, I’ll forward it on.  Remember, the best gift is “Chocolate Monkey” or “Swiss” trail mix from Archer Farms, available at Target.

Take care, and stay safe.  I’ll see you at the end of my deployment.  I expect to see all of you promoted to Cadet 2nd Lieutenant by my return.  Martinez, give me five push-ups.

Phillip K.
SSgt, USAF

Mommy Journaling Reinforces The Joys of Staying Home

I’m traveling this week, doing my radio program from Detroit and then from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, so I thought I’d feature a guest blogger today, who wrote in with the following comments:

Hi, Dr. Laura!
I am a stay-at-home mom of two beautiful children, ages 4 1/2 and almost 2.  I have been a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) since the middle of my first pregnancy.  I just picked up your book “In Praise of Stay-At-Home Moms,” and read it cover-to-cover in two days.  At first, the book made me angry.  Not at anything you said, but it stirred up some old emotions in me that I thought I had buried long ago.

You see, I have felt a lot of negativity from my in-laws since the day my husband and I decided that I would quit my job to stay home to raise our family.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law, and even both brothers-in-law and their wives, who all have children in day care, felt that I was not pulling my weight-that I was a burden on my husband, and that my children should be in day care.  Can you imagine?!!

My husband and I lead a completely different lifestyle from them, but that didn’t seem to matter to them. We don’t have a thirty foot trailer for camping, and it’s not important for us to have brand new SUVs or granite countertops.  We can have those material things in due time, if we choose.

Reading your book made me think about the past again, the way my children and I have been treated over the years, and it brought back all the anger and resentment.  As I continued reading your book, it clicked!  My in-laws are jealous of the quality time that I get to spend with my children every day.  Also, the biggie for me:  happiness is a matter of perspective.  Both my husband and I feel like we are doing the right thing by having me stay-at-home and that’s all that matters.  Period.

In a quest to keep the right perspective, I have started journaling my proud “mommy moments,” and I thought I would share this with you.  Perhaps this might help other SAHMs keep a positive outlook, too.  There’s no denying that being a full-time stay-at-home mom is both rewarding and challenging.  So, I started journaling all the wonderful moments that I experience with my children on a daily basis – the moments I would never be able to experience via Mommy-cam. 

Today, my daughter lovingly brushed the hair away from my forehead and kissed me sweetly on my forehead, just as I have done to her countless times.  I wrote it down.  When my little boy wraps his pudgy arms around my legs and squeezes me with all his might, I write it down.  That way, when things get tough, which they will, I can quickly glance over my Mommy journal and see why I’m doing this again, to help me keep a positive outlook.  I know this won’t make whatever is troubling me magically disappear, but I do think that seeing what’s positive and wonderful in my life will help to clear my head and give me strength for Round 2 and 3.

You have been such a wonderful influence on me, Dr. Laura.  Thank you for helping to lift my chin, so when people ask me what I do for a living, I can respond, smiling, “I am a proud FULL-time stay-at-home Mommy and I love my life.”

God bless you and yours,

C.

A Young Woman Does the Research on Feminist Theory

This is a two-parter from one of my listeners.  She originally wrote me the following email:

Dear Dr. Laura:

“…I am to give a presentation on …Feminist Theory for my Social Theory class.  Let me tell you, I am so excited to present this, because I am far from a feminist.  I can’t wait to share my thoughts with my class..[and] provide details of what women today are missing because of this movement. 

“…Thanks to you, I will be no one’s shack-up honey.  I will not have children until I am married.  I will not marry the wrong man…I will be my kid’s mom and my husband’s girlfriend….”

Thanks to you, here is a 25 year old woman who loves and respects herself.

Well, she did the research in preparation for the presentation, and here’s what she wrote as a followup:

“[In doing my research,] I… never read the word ‘oppressed’ so many times in my life.  My goodness, how can women complain so much? …I have never gotten mad when working on a project for school.  I have always found things that I have learned along the way interesting and useful.  Well, this time, I got mad.  My professor knew I was anti-feminism, so she must have thought [doing the research] would open my eyes to her world….She was incorrect.  I started getting angry at these feminists.  Finally, the day before my presentation…I had had it!  I could hardly stand these women.

I believe I read that women wanted to be accepted and respected, …[but] all it seemed like they wanted to do was emasculate men, demoralize tradition, and degrade anyone or anything that stood in their way of what they thought was power….I think a lot of feminists have taken this movement a bit too far.  I truly believe feminists must be the most miserable people.  They miss out on so much.  My mother is a feminist, and she has never been happy.  Thanks to you, Dr. Laura, I did not follow in her footsteps.

You were right when you told me the angrier the professor gets, the more “right on” I am.  She didn’t care what [analysis] I provided.  I appreciate that women have rights, but I resent that my rights of becoming a stay-at-home mom day are not honored as well….My professor thought she was tricking me into finding things [in my research] that maybe I would think I can’t live without.  All she did, though, was teach me how to be a better woman and how not to treat a man. 

Quote of the Week

You are a person of the greatest importance when you are the mother of a family.
               – Ethel Waters
                  American blues and jazz vocalist, actress
                  1896 -1977

Happy Mother’s Day this weekend!

Three Generations of Women