Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Staying home without penalty!

Recently I was faced with the decision to return to work full time after having Baby T. If I did not, then I took a huge pay cut. If I did, then I had to place my three-month-old son in a daycare. The choice was a no-brainer – I was going to take a huge pay cut.


During the process of resigning, I realized that there are mothers/fathers out there that do not have a choice. They are forced to take their child to a horrible daycare center for nine to twelve hour days. I know because when I was a single mom for a while, I had no choice but to send my kids to a daycare for eight hours a day. The horror stories made me take my mom up on her offer to take care of the kiddos. I thought the kids would get socialization skills, but instead they learned how to survive against the daycare workers. Granted anyone can act happy when the parents come around, an occurrence that happens many times in the public schools as well, but that is for another blog post. There was no way I could put a small baby that had no voice in the arms of a person that I could not trust.

When I had to make a decision to stay home or return to work, my teenagers begged me not to leave Baby T. They also pleaded for me to stay home because they missed me. This got me thinking that if my children are so against daycares and me returning to work, what about other people’s children? I have heard the following laments from parents who want to stay home:

     1. I would love to stay home with my children because I know it is best, but someone needs to bring home the money to pay the bills.

     2. It is hard to pump my milk (for breastfeeding mothers) at work and I really want to hold my baby in my arms.

     3. It feels so unnatural to drop my child off at daycare because children need their parent(s).

I have also heard complaints from my students over the years (before I resigned):

     1. My parents work late. When I get home, they don’t have time for me.

     2. My mom/dad works the night shift, so I’m coming home and she’s going to work.

     3. It gets lonely coming home to an empty house.

     4. If only my parents knew what I did after school before they came home from work.

For those who disagree with the quality of daycares or leaving your children home alone for long periods of time, please visit: http://www.daycaresdontcare.org/. Also, familiarize yourself with the brain studies in regards to children who attend daycare for more than 30 hours a week. This also applies to children who have parental depravation. However, it is not my desire to get into debates as to whether daycares or parental absences are horrible for children and detrimental to their health.

My mission is:

1. To help end the economic discrimination against traditional families because this will alleviate some of the financial burden placed upon parents who choose to stay home and raise their children. In addition, it will allow mothers who choose to breastfeed their child to do so without having to deal with the burden of pumping at work. Also, breastfeeding strengthens the bond between the mother and the child.

2. To help create a program that allows a parent to stay home with their children without penalty from their job. Granted, President Obama passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (2009) in which a parent has up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave time. UNPAID leave time? Who can afford that? Perhaps a program that allows a parent to stay home with their child for a year or two without penalty.

In order to make this possible for EVERY parent, I need your help. I want to help fight for the parents rights to stay at home with their children and raise them. Unless, having a stranger raise your child(ren) is what works for you – to each their own. If not, please contact your congressperson and let them know that you want better rights for parents who choose to stay home and raise their children.

As of now, the letter that includes all the important information can be found on the daycaresdontcare.org website. For a sample letter, please click here. Please help the hundreds of parents who long to be with their children, but cannot because they have no choice. Let’s unite and be the voice – one voice – that says “Parents need to stop being forced to make a decision of whether to stay at home with their children or go to work”.

Four years of trying

When my husband and I received the news that we were pregnant with our third child, we were excited. It was his first and my third. We rushed to the printer to make a birth announcement and took our entire family to the casino. Everyone, which includes great-grandparents, grandparents, and kids were waiting in anticipation for the reason behind the celebratory dinner. Slowly, the announcement was revealed. The great grandparents and grandparent’s eyes lit up with sheer excitement. Squeals of delight reverberated across the table. People around us smiled and offered their congratulations.

Afterwards, my husband and I arranged to visit his family. They were going to be grandparents for the first time. On the trip to his parent’s house, I felt a gush. Fear took hold and I tried to shake off the dreaded “M” word. We had no idea what was going on and visited a hospital along the way.

The doctor did an emergency ultrasound and told us that there was a fifty-fifty percent chance of survival. This was a new scenario for me because I had never experienced this before. My two children came without any worries or concerns. In fact, the running joke in our house was “we’re so fertile that if someone sneezed on us, we’d get pregnant” (I know how pregnancy occurs, so please no comments on the correctness of this situation). The entire month was nothing but blood soaked reminders of what was happening. Each bathroom trip consisted of checking in the toilet to see if anything has passed. If nothing was there, relief swept over me.

One morning, 2.5-month-old munchkin passed and shock set in. My knees buckled in and I tried to scream, but only a tiny squeak came out. What in the world happened?

That was five years ago.

The same events unfolded the second time and sent my spirits further down into oblivion.

My husband and I gathered whatever strength we had left in us, and tried for a third time. The pregnancy test revealed a positive sign and we were elated. Two weeks later, the bleeding started again. However, this time was different. There was bleeding here and there, but no passing. It became difficult to walk, that when I got out of the car, my husband would have to get the rolling dolly and cart me into the house. The pain on the side was excruciating, but I thought it might have been growing pains. Alas, we decided to go to the doctor. The baby was growing in my tube and I needed to have surgery, which involved the removal of my right tube.

Without a chance to tell my family, my husband and I were ushered to get me prepped for emergency surgery. In seconds, my entire family showed up to offer their support. Once the details of who, what, when, where, why were discussed, my mom wanted me to go to a different hospital. She kept expressing that she had a bad vibe (you know the mother intuition that many of us do not listen to). I did not listen and opted to stay where I was.

Turned out the doctor punctured my colon and had to slice me open to repair his neglect. I woke up to a nightmare, but eventually recovered. During the course of my recovery, I learned that this doctor had a high incidence of this kind of sloppiness.

My husband and I took it as a sign that another child was not in the stars for us, so we stopped trying. Doubts entered my head and I thought, “Could I get pregnant again with just one functioning tube?” These questions fueled my desire to learn as much as I could about my situation. When I learned that women could get pregnant with both tubes removed, I started to see a small light at the end of the tunnel.

We decided not to try again and to chart my temperatures to get a clearer idea of what was going on with my body. It was a week into the charting process that I learned I was pregnant again. My temperatures remained high a few days after my expected date of ovulation. This time we did not want to get excited. Sure enough, two weeks later I started showing signs of an impending miscarriage. I did not get my hopes up because I needed to keep charting. I hoped that an endocrinologist could tell me what was going on and my temperature would tell the whole story.

Since I had an ectopic before, I needed to check to see that the sac was growing in the right spot. The ultrasound revealed that there were TWO egg sacs. One was shrinking and another was completely viable. I had mixed feelings – twins. One was going to live and another was going to die. Was I supposed to be happy and sad at the same time?

Anyways, we now have an awesome munchkin in addition to our older munchkins. Our entire family counts their blessings because we know how valuable life is. I still cry over the lost pregnancies, but I am glad my husband and I did not give up. (Please, this is not a pro-choice or a pro-life sentence, so please no comments.)

Since I had Baby T, I made the conscious decision to breastfeed him as I did my other two children. I do not agree with the toxic formula that the companies churn out to make a profit. Nor do I see the logic in placing Baby T in a daycare, when I had a long struggle to have him. It seemed idiotic. Why almost die and then turn around to give him to a complete stranger? Also, I don’t like the idea of pumping milk and putting it in a torture device called a bottle. This totally takes away the purpose of the mother/child bonding time. It is foreign to me, but each to their own.

Breastfeeding required me to stay home, which meant a HUGE financial hit. However, we live with a big family; everyone encouraged and assured me that they would all pitch in. It still felt weird, so I asked my employers if I could bring my child to work, but since I was a teacher – they said no. Every suggestion resulted in no pay or dumping Baby T off at a daycare, so I opted to stay home and turn in my resignation papers.

And for those trying to conceive, here is a HUGE sprinkle of BABY DUST!!!