Tag: Grace Cross

My Two Pregnancy Plans

By: Grace Cross
Twitter

When a person finds out that they are pregnant, ideally you get very excited and start to plan life with your little one. You get to plan a nursery, get excited about having a new baby in the family and so much more. But for a parent who has lost a child and gets pregnant again, the joy of being pregnant can also come with a lot of fears. When I lost my baby to an ectopic pregnancy, I knew my thoughts on having another baby would be much more cautious and careful and have their own fears. That is why, unlike other Mothers, I have two pregnancy plans.

Having a miscarriage or an ecoptic pregnancy is not your fault. It is said that in an ectopic pregnancy case that you’re at a higher risk if you drink, do drugs or have lived a lifestyle that can be deemed unhealthy. I never did any of these things, but like millions of women around the world, I had lost my baby at eight weeks and had to have my right fallopian tube removed along with my baby. We were all going to die and there was no other choice. My heart bled as the doctor let me know my baby was dead and I would die if they did not preform this life saving surgery. Coupled with me internally bleeding, they had to act fast. And in a moment, I was no longer a Mom to two.

Most women who have a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy do get pregnant again. These babies are usually called “rainbow babies” or the babies that you have after you have lost a baby previously. If I do get pregnant again, to protect my baby and my heart, I have to have two pregnancy plans.

My pregnancy plan may not look like  other pregnancy plans. A woman may decide that she is going to have a certain exercise regime, she may in some countries decide whether to have a c-section or a vaginal birth. She may have a doula or a midwife. She may decide to give birth in a hospital or at home. My plan is a lot different but many women have similar plans. My first pregnancy plan is if my baby survives. My chances of having a second ectopic pregnancy are increased, so my pregnancy plan is to make it past 6 weeks of pregnancy. As soon as I have a confirmed pregnancy, my doctor immediately refers me to an ”emergency ultra sound”. Once the baby is confirmed to be safe, I can breathe a sigh of relief and continue cautiously throughout my pregnancy. This is plan one.

My second pregnancy plan begins if a doctor says that something is wrong. If I have another ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage or if my baby is in any type of distress. My plan looks a little something like this:

  1. Take all measures to help baby survive/thrive
  2. If the baby has passed away, prepare myself for surgery.
  3. Prepare family for my physical rehabilitation (it takes a month or two to physically become strong again).
  4. Make sure that my partner and child have a good support system around them as they will be hurting as well.
  5. To make sure that I ask for help. From family that I can depend on. I asked a lot of family members for help the first time who were not going to be there like I needed. I know now who I can ask to help me with needs that they can provide. I know I can count on my dear friends. One of them actually owns this blog
  6. To seek help.
  7. To know that I don’t have to get over this, but I can get through this.
  8. To send love to my baby.

I know that many families have been through still birth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and other forms of loss. It can be early on or very late. I know that I belong to a group of people who never wanted to be in this group, but show so much love and support for one another. I know that there are so many strong women and men and children who show love and support in these dark times.

I would love to be that carefree mom as I was in my first pregnancy, which went without problem, but if I go through another pregnancy, it will be more cautious, it will be more careful. I will worry, though everyone will assure me not to, I love them for loving me but I am human and I will. I hope for that result that I get to the birth stage, go through the pain of labour and I can breathe a sigh of relief that my next little one is safely in my arms. I in that moment, rejoice that I have become a Mother to my rainbow baby.

How Winter Makes Me See Life

By: Grace Cross
Twitter

Winter is synonymous with death, but I never saw it that way. Perhaps because I was a person who grew up amongst snow for eight plus months of the year, it would be sad that eight plus months of each year of my life resembled that of a morgue. The truth of the matter is, winter to me is not death at all. It is the most important season of the year. Where I am from, if you do not have a cold winter, you have a lot of bugs in the summer. You get a dry spell and the trees do not blossom with their usual vibrancy. To this point, when you look under the snow, many roots are planting, many flowers are beginning to blossom. The earth is deciding what the next year will bring. To me, winter is pause, winter is beginning. It is the most powerful season.

I have a friend in her mid-thirties. She is a great person, but she is worried about getting older. Now that she is in her mid-thirties, she feels her job is to serve her family and then it’s one foot in the grave. Morbid, isn’t it? She also hates winter. Let’s face it folks, your mid-thirties is about beginnings and really finding yourself. You have a lot of life left to live. Also, it’s never about how much time you have but how you spend it.

At a party recently, my beautiful friend’s negative words stung me a bit. I was celebrating the holiday season with friends. We have all known each other since we were fourteen and we have had some amazing adventures. We know each other inside and out. Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us have children, some of us do not. Some have similar jobs and some do not. We are really different people with a combined enjoyment of each other.

So picture it, my dear friend is hosting this party as she hosts most of them as she is the half way point for most of us to travel. We see each other only a couple times a year now. We go to her house and this friend really can decorate. It is your quintessential Christmas house with a modern trendy touch and you could just put this picture of her home in a magazine. In another life, my friend was an interior designer, but in this life, she is a really great teacher.

The friends start pouring in with their partners and kids. The children immediately know the routine and start inventing some game. From babies to kids, they all just have this understanding that they all will like each other.

Pause.

I paused in the midst of Christmas stories and laughs and memories of yesteryear. I felt like winter. No, not the way my friend describes winter, the way I do.

Here are these people, who saw me grow up. I saw them grow up. We saw each other go through some great times. We have lost family members. We are all friends with each other’s siblings. Now, we have these children, of all different ages, playing together as if the universe has aligned. They generally enjoy each other’s company! The older ones seem to mind the younger ones. The cycle begins again.

In some ways, no matter what this world has to offer them, they have this core group that will always root for them, put them first and celebrate their wins and pull them through their challenges.

They will always be someone’s number one.

My friend’s son reads to me.

He reads now!

I remember he was the first baby of the group. We arrived at a dessert shop as we all nervously met this sweet little boy. We held him. I held him and we were all nervous. How are we going to raise this person, this little ‘being’ of two of my dear friends? We were all promoted to uncles and aunts and suddenly, we had a responsibility more important than ourselves. Our siblings did not have children and so we all just learned to be the best friends and aunts and uncles to this child we could be. Then more babies came. We got into the swing of things. Now its “old hat” as they say.

Pause.

I look at my friend’s faces who I still see as fourteen years old, navigating through this amazing and terrifying thing we call life. My friend’s son is still reading to me and my other friend has just given birth to the most beautiful little girl who is like the PERFECT baby. My friend insists she has her moments. But in this moment in winter at Christmas, this moment of beauty and simplicity, I will call one of the most cherished moments of my life and it’s no surprise it is in wintertime.

I jump into action, it’s my turn to read.

 

3 Must Have Gifts To Get Your Kids Right Now!!!

By: Grace Cross, Editor of The Baby Spot

Twitter

Originally Posted Here

As I walked with my four year old down a busy city street in the sweltering heat, I stopped momentarily to grab my key out of my purse so I was prepared to unlock a building door. As I reached for the front glass door, an elderly gentleman beat me to it, opened the door for both myself and my daughter.

“Thank you!” I said with a smile. I hear my daughter’s tiny voice echo her thank yous.

“You’re welcome.” He said smiling back and headed out the door and down the busy street. I love to open the door for people and I am grateful when anyone takes time out of their day to open the door for me. I don’t expect anything said to me when I open the door for someone, if it puts a smile on your face to have the door opened for you then that is great. If I don’t get a thank you, no worries, I wanted to open it for you and that is that. In retrospect, I am grateful when someone does a nice little deed for me. It reminds me that the strangers around us are too, three dimensional who think, feel and are going through things in their life whether it be good or bad.

I like people.

But then I looked down at my daughter. I have spoken to waiters and people in service who are shocked at how today’s youth does not use manners. How many children interrupt or swear at their parents when a service individual has briefly taken their parent’s attention to do their job. Basic manners are not mandatory and definitely not mandated by any law in any country that I am aware of. However, it makes all of our lives a little easier.

As human beings, we are a social creature, but little ‘isms’ and human nuances can get on everyone’s nerves. I get it. I’ve been there. Someone not yielding to the right on an escalator for the quicker walkers to walk passed you is social suicide in some cities. Loud talkers in some countries are considered the norm, whereas in my city and in others, it’s considered extremely rude for everyone to have to hear your conversation. In an age where we are blessed to live with different people, cultures and ideas, we can get on each other’s nerves. We can misunderstand and misinterpret each other. There are literally some cultures who shake their heads from side to side meaning ‘no’ and other cultures that shake their head from side to side meaning ‘yes!’ The confusion and naivetés of one another can cause conflict and therefore can make the world a bit of a more challenging place to live in.

So before the keyboard warriors come out and tell us how I and everyone else can do it better, stop! I have three gifts that you can buy your children or even buy yourself that with a simple investment, will make your life easier. With a very unprofessional and uncertified rating system, I will give you a cost break down and an approximate amount of time for every gift to be properly consumed.

The best part of this is, I don’t even have to provide backlinks to any of these gifts because they’re right in front of you. So, put your credit cards down.

Thankfulness

Beyond the screams of a child in a toy store of the sighs of a preteen because Mom or Dad did not let them buy “this cool app, look, it’s only $3.99” is thankfulness. We can’t blame our children. They come from an instantaneous gratification society, a society that gives them information at their fingertips. I am not advocating for this to be taken away, oh no, I think technology is great for the most part. But when we live in a society where we have advertisements telling us we want something, then your children may see a little snippet on the news, of a Syrian family narrowly avoiding death, of a shooting nearby or something that humanizes them that makes them think “well, this did not happen to me, this does not happen here.” The feelings of life start to flood in, but are immediately interrupted from that text of a friend, a new advertisement or another distraction. Before we ask our children to “Be helpers” as Fred Rogers from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood so eloquently put it, we need to remind our children in an age where it seems everyone gets everything right away, to be thankful.

The best way to teach your children, in my humble opinion is to lead by example. No one wants every outing, every experience to be some lesson or lecture. But when a parent shows thankfulness in front of their children, “I am thankful I got home twenty minutes early today and I was not caught in traffic.” “Just got back from the doctors kids, I am thankful for that clean bill of health.” A child starts to hear that behavior and mimic it. Being thankful for a gift, to live in a safe area, to have a loving family is a wonderful seed to plant. A child must be thankful for what the opportunities they have before they can provide opportunities for others.

To add, saying “Thank you” to others, like people who hold the door for your family, serve you in restaurants or in retail settings, deserves a thank you from you and your children if they were kind and attentive.

The greatest thing about thankfulness is you can start when they are infants. Yes, a parent even speaking to their child is soothing. You can introduce this at any age and I promise, it will help shape your children and also keep you in check in a world that can sometimes seem cruel.

Final Cost: 0

Time: About 5 to 10 seconds for each thankful thought.

1 Minute relaying thoughts to others.

Understanding

Understanding can be a tricky one. I am in no means asking you to teach your children to let every bully walk over them “maybe he or she has a hard life and that is why they punch you in the face every day after school, dear.” Or “this person is trying to get me fired from work but maybe they need to feed their family more than I need to feed mine.” That is not the understanding I am advocating for. Protect yourself!

The understanding I am asking for is for your children to function with others who do not think like them. We have this new opportunity where the whole word is connected, a whole world that has opinions, many of them different from their own. I have traveled a bit over the course of my life and created this global parenting magazine on two premises, celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices worldwide. The whole “we are all the same” movement is nice and all and as a people we do share some amazing similarities in both genetics and thought processes, but it is silly and almost ignorant to ignore the vast differences from culture, people and society. Those differences, though foreign to some, are interesting, beautiful and quite frankly, I prefer it. I prefer my thought processes to be challenged and questioned. It either teaches me something new or helps me reform my original opinion to be stronger. As long as the learning process is healthy, I am all for it.

We must teach our children understanding. People have different needs. We have some children who recognize certain religious practices during the day. In retrospect, we have children who require certain understanding. There are children who are religious, not religious, have different ways of thinking or perception like children with autism. The point is, we think differently and we perceive the world differently. We need to understand each other and learn about different types of people.

So what does that mean? Perhaps enrolling your children in a language class, to have a second language under their belt. It’s a new opportunity for your children to learn about a new culture and make new friends speaking their second language. It could be volunteering at a homeless shelter, so your children can interact with people who live differently than themselves. It could also mean having your children meet other children outside of their regular circles, volunteering at a reading program or if extra time is tight, reading about a new country, culture or religion every night for ten minutes. You don’t have to have your degree or be an expert in a subject to get a sense of understanding.

My mom for a short period of my childhood would grab one of her encyclopedia’s, (yes, the book ones not the ones online) and read us a little snippet of a country, culture or place while we ate breakfast before school. Maybe this is corny but it’s true, I enjoyed it! It must have stuck in my head throughout the years, because even though I may not remember anything she read to us, it planted the seed to learn more about everything, to understand to the best of my ability.

I think understanding comes with educating your children. Whether they are destined for a doctorate in medicine or changing the world with Tool and Dye, education breeds understanding. A combination of books and street smarts is a beautiful thing.

Cost=0

Time= ongoing dedication

Empathy

Do you have that child who wants to adopt every stray animal they find? Do you have a child who does not bully others even if everyone else is doing it? You have raised the empathetic child, one of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. A child who many would say is beyond their years, I would humbly say is right where they are supposed to be. To get their peers to think and to inspire adults to remember.

If your child is none of those things, don’t worry! Empathy can be demonstrated and you can ‘wake up’ your child to think in a different way.

For those parents whose child is not empathetic, with most children, you can lead with example. With children with mental health challenges, leading with example, as you well know, may not work.

But you have to live empathy if there is any hope for your children to be empathetic. Showing empathy for other people’s pain is a gift your child will never know how important it is to have. Empathetic people are the seeds that grow ideas into beautiful plants. When one person, combined with understanding, empathizes with another, it helps build bridges with humanity and not make the gap between human being to human being, even bigger.

How you can express empathy is key. You won’t yell at that waitress who took an extra five minutes to fill up your cup because you can see she is waiting on at least ten other tables and you know this task is next to impossible. So you show and exhibit patience. Yelling never helps anyone anyway. You will donate your clothes to those new immigrants to your country because you know they have never felt a winter like yours and you want them to bundle up and stay warm and cozy as they get to know this new land. You use kind words to others, you hear peoples pain and you respond instead of ignoring. You are alive and you act like it.

Cost: 0

Time: a full time investment at first, but then it comes naturally.

These three gifts are not only a must have for the family, but if you use them as a combo, you can get results far greater than buying into just one. With all three gifts, you give yourself a huge discount in time management!

The media is always talking about role models and who will be the role model for your child? You see celebrities protesting that they just sing songs or act in movies and never asked to be your child’s role model. You know what? They’re right. You never asked them to. You don’t need to because you are their role model. It may not seem like that when they run off with their friends without saying goodbye or are rude sometimes. But they are listening. They are observing. You are the answer to your children getting these three gifts. With a onetime investment on behalf of your children, you can really change their life. I am not promising perfection. But what I am promising is you and your family making a difference, no matter how small, in your community and your world. All cliché aside, stop buying into what people tell you that you need to buy your family and invest in these three gifts for life.

Fitting in Versus Standing Out

By: Grace Cross
Twitter: @grace_cross1000

No parent wants their child to come home and cry that they’re being bullied.  They do not want to hear how their baby, whom they loved and raised, is being teased for not having the latest style or following a trend. As ridiculous as it sounds, a child can be bullied by their peers if they are not wearing the fashion of the minute. Out of fear, some parents will overspend, even go into debt so their children are wearing expensive fashion of the moment, so they fit in with their peers. However, this sends a clear message to the child, to follow what other’s tell them is the right thing to do. We want to raise independent children who know the value of a dollar and children whose personal creativity should shine. WE want our children to be individuals and stand out verses fit in.

Growing up as a child in the early 90s, many pre- teens were dressing in their baggy jeans and band tee shirts. Children as young as eleven wore heavy eyeliner and mascara. The world of a certain young twelve year old is already confusing enough, but many girls quickly traded their pig tails for doc martins over a summer. It was the age to start growing up, but not growing out.

girls

Everyone is an individual. We as parents must nurture our children’s passions.

A new girl came to school. Her ensemble was definitely not a band tee shirt and jeans. She knew old jazz music over the musings of Smashing Pumpkins. She wore acid wash jeans and a jean jacket. She would make funky jewelry and put decorative pieces in her hair. She was 5’6 and a size zero. She had an angelic face and an idea for her future. She had started at a new school after moving from the city to the suburbs. In our small town, you had seen one fashionable twelve year old, you had seen them all. They were not as accepting as the barrage of city trends that exist.

She walked in being nothing but kind. Her outfit was funky and exuded her personality. The other band tee-shirted mascara smeared girls teased and ridiculed her for being different. Any adult could see that these little suburban girls were intimidated by her confidence and big city dreams. She wanted to be a model and a fashion designer. They would tell her she was not pretty enough and too ugly and skinny. Although her mother could have jumped on the bandwagon and rushed her to the mall to buy her those doc martins and a band tee shirt, she did not. Her daughter was teased. Her daughter got stronger. Her daughter went to high school and made a lot of friends. She started a fashion club and helped with annual fashion shows. She left high school and moved to New York. She became a model and a fashion designer. That skinny sized zero beauty also had a heart. She could have easily designed for sized zero models like herself, but she chose again, to go against the grain and make fashion for beautiful plus sized women. Her mom is proud.

group

The other suburban girls (not naming any names) grew up to find nice normal jobs in nice normal towns. She, however, holds no grudge and also has a beautiful family in New York City, doing what she loves for a cliental she loves.

Sometimes as parents, when our children are being teased, we quickly want our child to fit in. No parent should accept or allow their child to be bullied. However, we should encourage our children to follow their dreams, even though their peers may not believe in them. “She” is a real person, but we will choose not to use her name because there is at least one “she or even “he” in every classroom in every school across the country. “He” or “she” is probably your child. So embrace the different and don’t be afraid to stand against the grain. You have no idea what kind of super hero you might be raising.

 *If your child or someone you know is experiencing any sort of bullying, immediately contact school officials or reach out to a children’s help line. As parents, we have ZERO tolerance for bullying. You could save a life.*

About the Author & Special Guest Blogger

Grace Cross is a writer, author and owner of The Baby Spot, a global magazine celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices world-wide! Grace is co owner of Artist’s Opus, a social media following that promotes artists from all over the world.

 

4 Tips to Avoid Being a Mean Mommy

Originally posted here

By: Grace Cross
Twitter: @grace_cross1000

We all have met them. That mom, who is judgmental, has a problem with every other mother’s parenting practices, gossiping about family life and making overzealous assumptions. We can’t stand mean mommies but can we be that mean mother sometimes? Here are four reminders on how to avoid being that Mean Momma.

1. Do Not Gossip – When a mother confides in another, whether her marriage is on the rocks or she is having trouble with her children. Do not share that information with other mothers. When someone is feeling isolated based on problems to begin with, gossip can further isolate the person who is being gossiped about.

SOLUTION: Help with the problem, even if it’s an offer to carpool once a week, or scheduling a play date at the park, give that Mom a break or an ear to listen to.

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2. Do Not Judge– Try walking in another Mother’s shoes. Is she under a lot of stress? Could she use some help?

SOLUTION: Again, be an ear to listen to or invite her out for a play date. Friendliness goes a long way.

3. Do Not Make Assumptions About Someone’s Situation– When we make assumptions on something we know little or nothing about, it can breed into a Mean Mommy Monster! Not only are mean assumptions a reflection of yourself, the people you are feeding the lies to may agree with you at the time, but you will get a reputation as a Mean Mommy.

SOLUTION: Point out the positives of another Mother. People who seem to have it all together are people to learn from. Swap parenting tips, the only thing that can happen is a new friendship and learning something new.

4. Keep Jealousy At Bay– A lot of Mean Mommies mean comments to others comes from jealousy of the mother they are speaking about. Some Moms will have it more together then you, others will not.

SOLUTION: Learn from these Mothers. They can teach you parenting tips or maybe once you get to know them, you will realize that they too, have hardships, problems and are real people.

Motherhood is a really difficult job and we should all be in this together. Mothers being mean to other mothers are childish and your children may hear you being catty. Instead of being pinned against one another, remember that we are all in this together and need the support from each other. It takes a village to raise a child and if we are all on the same team, it makes this job a lot easier.

 

About the Author & Special Guest Blogger

Grace Cross is a writer, author and owner of The Baby Spot, a global magazine celebrating the similarities and embracing the differences of parenting practices world-wide! Grace is co owner of Artist’s Opus, a social media following that promotes artists from all over the world.