Monday, January 31, 2011

To Procreate, or Not to Procreate?

When DD was concieved, I was seventeen and (obviously, I think) unwed.

This was not a first for my family, Irish-Catholic rebels that we are. There had been babies concieved out of wedlock before- but few made it through those nine months, and of those, all were given up for adoption, for various reasons and by various women. They are the hushed-whisper ghost children of mothers who went on to bear other, more valid babies to properly wedded husbands.

I was the first to lay claim to my baby, to lock my hands before my blooming abdomen and say "back off". And, for the most part, my family ended up being wonderfully supportive. Really. There were the couple aunts or uncles who judged, who put up walls and let loose words and phrases that scalded my heart, but overall I was so comforted by the wave of love that came my way.

However, this is not to say everyone neccessarily 'celebrated' my pregnancy. My daughter, yes- as soon as she was born, we all fell in love. How could you not? And I soon proved to be a dutiful and obsessively nurturing mother, so any doubts in that department fell away as well. (No, I don't blame anyone for having their doubts- teenage motherhood is a hard pill to swallow, no matter how much you believe in the mother-to-be.)

But I was still seventeen, unwed, and pregnant. And that just isn't something that's applauded in my family- nor am I sure that it should be, in my case or anyone else's.

Though I thoroughly enjoyed my pregnancy- I was a big, glowing, healthy, shiny tribute to fertility- there was a bit of a dark shadow lurking behind me, behind the appraising glances I got in the midwife's waiting room, behind my teacher's eyes in the classes I completed, behind it all. And I get that.

But since DD was born (it's been two and a half years now), as her father and I's relationship has sustained and even bloomed over the bumps and hazards of life, as we have grown in adoration of our amazing, spirited daughter, I've realized that there is a deep part of me that wishes, among other things, to have a pregnancy that is valid in the eyes of the world.

No, I'm not saying I want to have another baby to be accepted, or to be congratulated. For a long, long time, I was certain I didn't want a second child at all, even looking down (I admit) upon mothers who had children back to back, seemingly on purpose. The Monkey was my only, my angel, my everything. And I believe, for the first child, a lone and coddled infancy is a gift.

But the Monkey is no longer an infant, and I no longer the mother of a babe. And she has new needs, new desires, and is growing in new ways. As I look down the road she's traveling on, bending my head this way and that to see around it's hairpin turns and culverts, I anticipate that, with her high social needs and ravenous appetite for actitivity and movement and sound and laughter and play, she would appreciate a sibling.

I was an only for the first six years of my life, and enjoyed it thoroughly. By the time my half-siblings came along, it was all a little too late, and though I love them and appreciate them now, they did muddle with my shine for a bit there. The Bodyman is an only, and he was starved for siblinghood as a child. His parents were older, and boring, and angry, and he told me how he begged them for a brother or sister, even asking them to consider adoption. He compensated by becoming hyper-social, which both served him and screwed him, depending on the situation.

So there's that. I would love for DD to have a siblings, brother or sister- I think it would be excellent for her, and I think she had plenty of time as the beloved Only, time to nurse and play and Be. That time wouldn't end, but it would be changed, and I think she'd love it.

I do have concerns, though.

I'm scared we'd wish we hadn't- of course we'd love this new child, but what if things are perfect now? What if this is the perfect balance, and by bringing another life into the picture, things become so stressed and hectic and crazy that we realize we'd done each other a disservice?

What if I favor DD over the second child, or what if DD feels resentful that her new sibling is here- not in that initial, expected way, but deep inside?

What if it's all too much of a strain on DH's and I's relationship?

Then there's financial worries, space worries, time worries ..... the list goes on.

Deep down, I want an easy decision. I want it to be natural, like nursing or co sleeping or whatever. I don't want to "make" this decision- I want it to Be. Does it work like that?

I'm not sure.

For now, we're Not Trying. When we had DD, we were Not Not Trying- which is to say, we were Allowing. Obviously we know firsthand it's better to be real with yourselves. Either Try, or Don't Try. Either Go For It, or Avoid It. This is my point, really.

If we do decide to concieve a second child, I want it to be a decision. A real, firm, said-out-loud, happy, joyful, excited, LET'S DO IT. I'm waiting for the desire to go 'all in.'

For now, I'm happy to Go All In with the child I have, with my spouse, with our new apartment, with my scholastic goals, and with our upcoming wedding. All of this, and more, are the gifts that are mine- the small moments and long hours of each and every wonderful day.

And while we talk about the possibility of another embryo, while we talk of spring flowers and nuptuals and patterned rugs, I cuddle my daughter on my lap, press my face into her hair, and inhale her scent, no longer baby-sweet but just as lovely, for sure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Starting Fresh// Raw Choco-Nut Frosting

So I'm on day numero uno of my 21 day totally-vegan-mostly-raw-no-refined-sugar-proper-food-combining Kick. And about an hour after lunch (avacado, hummus, and Vegenaise sandwich on toasted Ezekial bread with a side of Kim Chee) I had the hankering for something sweet. Imagine that.

Let me just explain here: my 21 days was supposed to start Wednesday. Maybe even Thursday. I'm planning a big food shopping trip to Whole Foods on Wednesday and the good-for-you-vegan-pickings are slim until then. But after last night's 'run in' with totally-non-vegan-and-certaintly-not-good-for-you brownies (really, it was more like a date, one that I was quite excited for at that) I woke up this morning feeling sick to my stomach and really just gross, a feeling that has become all too familar to me. And I said, what the heck? Why prolong my misery? It's going to be just as hard in two days. Let's start now.

I had to modify my requirements a bit, given what my pantry is looking like. Instead of raw til dinner- it's raw til lunch. Other than that, it's pretty much the same. All vegan, as much raw as possible, no crap food (read: refined sugars and grains), and as little processing as possible. So, ixnay on the soymilk. Also, I'm following the Fit for Life plan pretty closely, paying attention to the basic rules of food combining. (I could do a whole other post on that, and maybe at some point I will.)

Breakfasts are fairly easy- per the Fit for Life plan (and, really, according to what makes me feel my best/lightest) I eat as much raw fruit as I want until noon. This usually means a grapefruit, maybe an apple as well. This also qualifies me for the "raw til noon" label, without much work at all.

Once I fill up my pantry to the seams with wonderful, fresh, vegan food, it'll be much easier and probably pretty pain free. What I'm most worried about is stopping when I'm full- and, perhaps the biggest pain in the butt- SUGAR.

Sugar is absolutely my downfall. Absolutely positutely. I am probably what you would call addicted, at the very least a compulsive consumer. If there are three cookies, I'll eat three. If there are ten, I'll eat ten. I very often don't stop til I'm sick, even though I know that's where the whole game is headed. Gross, right?

Before you begin to tell me about how I can cure this- I've tried it. Geneen Roth, Marienne Williamson, and all of the nutritional approaches. And yes, I've tried "just stopping."

But what has worked at points- until I've strayed from the path- is good, whole, often raw vegan eating. My body instinctively loves good food. Whole foods, that is. Unprocessed, unpasteurized, fresh, clean food. And my tongue loves it too!

My tongue especially loved the raw kind-of-vegan frosting I made after lunch. Here's the recipe.

Jessica's Raw Choco-Nut Frosting


1-2 tablespoons raw organic almond butter, creamy OR chunky
1 tablespoon raw honey
1-2 tablespoons fair trade cocoa powder
1-4 teaspoons water
nutmeg or cinnamon, to taste

In a small bowl, mix almond butter, honey, cocoa powder, and spices until blended. Add a teaspoon of water and whisk, increasing amount of water until the mixture reaches desired consistancy.

This recipe is great by itself for dessert OR would make a great frosting. I liked the texture of the crunchy kind of almond butter, but for frosting, I think I'd go with creamy.


P.S: Sorry, no pictures today!! It was just not around long enough to capture on camera. Blame my taste buds, if you must.