We could all use a little help, but Kerry Trotter is feeling like a lot of help is in order these days. She's due with her second child any day now, and is exercising her maternal right to worry needlessly, needfully, excessively, etc. But St. Gerard Majella, the patron saint of unborn babies and expectant mothers, whose feast we celebrate today, is waiting in the wings.
I, in my addled last month of pregnancy, could use all the help I can get.
Some recent requests: hoisting my toddler daughter into the car, giving her baths, feeding the dog (the smell of dog food — more repugnant now than ever), remembering appointments, picking up clumsily dropped items, getting out of chairs, etc., etc.
I need help with all of it.
Luckily, I have an incredible husband who, not only intercedes on my behalf, does so enthusiastically. He’s crouching, bathing, hoisting, feeding and recalling for two these days, since his normally has-it-together wife can’t seem to get out of the bathroom long enough to tend to the needs of her kin.
Too much information?
Anyway, such is the ninth month, where the anticipation of baby grows even larger than the belly itself, and the discomfort of pregnancy has come to a climactic head (pun intended) that serves as robust incentive to get the show (again, pun intended) on the road. This is all by incredible design, as that second trimester “glow” and the delight of creating life needs to give in order for mom to really want that baby out. If it were all clear skin and the muffin top-stifling powers of maternity jeans, pregnancy could be a four-, or even five-trimester affair. But that feeling of a teeny tiny foot stomping your bladder like it was a barrel of grapes (mmmm, wine…) is fueling my eagerness for her arrival, and she, too, I imagine is eager. Quarters are getting a little cramped, and I’m sure the thought has occurred to her more than once: “I shoulda brought some reading material.”...
Is the bearing of a child a parent's license to get creative with the name? Word On Fire contributor Ellyn von Huben examines a recent news item about a child's controversial name change, and what could be avoided if parents just give the process a little more thought, and perhaps a little more saintly intervention.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” could have been a plea that Adrian Williams would make to both his mother and the Wisconsin State Appeals Court when he petitioned to change his name to Romanceo Sir Tasty Maxibillion back in 1995. The State of Wisconsin didn’t buy it; though it actually could have made him easier to find as a parolee (did I mention he was incarcerated at the time?). His mother’s response? Maternal intuition leads me to think that she would also take umbrage at the choice. “Sir Tasty,” as I like to call him, asked the court to allow him a name that is unique, creative, and the embodiment of his aspirations. In this respect, the criminal’s mind was working with thought processes not unlike many soon-to-be parents preparing for a new arrival.
Talk of the trend of modern creative naming has come into prominence once more in the news in the past few weeks. A judge in Tennessee disallowed the name Messiah for a young child. What received a lot of attention was judicial over-involvement and the judge’s decision to order that Messiah not be the child’s legal name. Judge Lu Ann Ballew became involved because this was a case of parental indecision on what should be the baby’s surname. I saw little outrage over the tragedy of the child’s unmarried parents haggling over choice of surname — a sorry intimation of discord to come in his young life. In the course of this decision the judge decided that Messiah was not an appropriate first name. Many people have been shocked and irate with the judge’s pronouncement that Messiah is an offensive name, in that it only belongs to Jesus Christ, thus raising this essentially to another debate about Church/State separation. (To add to the Judge Ballew’s opinion, I would interject that “Messiah” might also be a name that is offensive to Jews who believe the Messiah is still to come.)
I was more shocked to read that “Messiah” is fourth among the fastest trending names in popularity according to the U. S. Social Security Administration. There were close to 800 little Messiahs born in the United States in 2012. So, while one child has been spared an unusual and inappropriate name, this well-publicized case has made no contribution to pushing back the trend of unfortunate names. American freedom allows parents to pull out all the stops when giving one of their first and most permanent gifts to their children. Many parents feel no constraints when deciding baby names. Even our constitution’s “Title of Nobility clause” has not interfered with the Princes, Barons, and Queenies that have populated hospital nurseries...
We all have our crosses to bear. Kerry Trotter's latest (and most overblown) can be found on her left leg. In pregnancy, every day becomes a new lesson in love, acceptance, peace, panic and, today, mortality. She explains how she came to understand memento mori.
It was all going as planned.
Scratch that, better than planned.
At about 20 weeks into my pregnancy, I was feeling wonderful, our newly identified baby girl was growing mightily, I was healthy, family was happy, my hand-me-down maternity wardrobe was lending me some fashionable flexibility — the partum world was a wonderful, carefree place for ol’ Ker.
Then I saw it.
Flitting about our house feeling effortlessly pulled together in my belted sundress, I happened to cast my eyes downward and spotted something on my left calf that injected a thunderbolt of terror into my heart. I froze then bent down to get a closer look. Is that … what I think it is?...
In a recent article in "The Atlantic," Jessica Valenti wrote about motherhood and "not wanting kids." Ellyn von Huben read the article and sympathized with the sentiment, but not the celebration of this state-of-mind. Through an introspective look at her own path to motherhood, Ellyn highlights the self-sacrificing beauty of this vocation, something to be embraced on any path to true happiness.
My family knows by now that I can’t approach any situation without finding some sort of comic relief. For instance, I left work early two weeks ago to pick up my son from the hospital after he had been hospitalized suddenly in the course of a routine physical the day before. Once we were in the car and the usual wisecracking was going on, I pointed to the Safe Haven logo [Illinois' Safe Haven law was written to provide a safe alternative to abandonment for Illinois parents who feel they cannot cope with a newborn baby] and told the young man that I was under the impression that I was free to drop him off if he didn’t shape up. Already kind of an old joke, since I had said the same thing to his sisters the night before in the ER. Some joke. I’m scared to death about my son and then segue into a lame quip about leaving my cares behind at a safe haven.
It is truly good to see the Safe Haven logos at the local hospital. The idea of a mother being able to leave a child that she cannot care for is not new. There is a tradition of this in many cultures for centuries, and the United States has finally given mothers this option (with legalities varying from state to state) in all 50 states. The grave burdens that cause a mother to know that she cannot parent her child are eased by the opportunities for these children to live - to avoid the sentence of abortion, murder or abandonment to the elements. Our Church’s own St. Vincent de Paul installed a ‘baby hatch’ in one of his foundling homes in the early 17th century. Despite the history of these options, people today have become more comfortable with abortion and find leaving a tiny baby to be well cared for as the bizarre option. All of this shows that outer strife and inner conflict over childbearing has always been with us...
On the Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost items, Kerry Trotter reflects on the increased frequency with which she could his help.
Mondays aren’t normally my sharpest days.
But this one hit an all-time dull.
I had just hoisted my daughter from her booster seat, fresh off a mac-and-cheese lunch, and was gearing up for that delightfully contented hour of play before naptime. She was happy, I was happy, and we were simply reveling in our togetherness when the serpentine unease of a forgotten thought slithered into my head.
You know, the thought that should have slithered in hours earlier but was suspended in the muck of my brain matter, clogged with so many work deadlines and Elmo songs.
I was supposed to have lunch with a friend today. In fact, an hour before.
I had completely—I mean, completely—forgotten about it.
Panicked, I leaped to my feet and ran to the computer. An email waited...