Monday, July 16, 2012

The Rare Personal Post

I am sure you have noticed that I have not posted in almost a year. There are a few reasons for this:

1) I had my first child in April. The pregnancy was a tough one toward the end and once he was born I had to adapt to life with a newborn. It cannot be stressed enough: having a child changes everything.

And it's hard to adapt. Don't let anyone sugar-coat it for you. You will miss your pre-baby life. I missed my evenings eating dinner and watching TV with my husband. I thought I had made a big mistake because my own parents had 6 years to enjoy each other before they had children while I got pregnant a month into my marriage. I was angry at myself for getting pregnant. I was grieving for the life I once had.

But you will get over it. Even if you don't fall in love with your child at first sight, it will happen. These feelings of regret or anger don't make you a bad parent. Parenthood is a hard thing to get used to. The hormonal roller-coaster immediately post-birth is a bitch. But it will end. One day you will wake up and be filled with love for that little life laying beside you (because the little bugger refuses to sleep in his own bed). Don't beat yourself up for not being full of joy immediately after birth. It will all be okay. Just be patient with yourself.

My baby boy on the fourth of July. He's wondering what you're doing here.

2) I had other medical issues in addition to the pregnancy.

Prior to this year, I had not had surgery since I was five years old. I vaguely remembered breathing in the gas to knock me out and I had a few disconnected memories of being in the hospital. But I didn't remember much else about the experience of being a patient. This year, I have already had two surgeries (one being the c-section giving birth to my son). Spending so much time in hospitals has reminded me of what it is like being a patient and it has given me perspective in my work as a chaplain. I'm in no hurry to be a patient again any time soon. I don't want to go into a hospital room again this year not in a professional capacity.

Come on, you know you've wanted to do it.

3) I was victim to something that most bloggers can relate to: The hopelessness of writing and no one reading or commenting. It's frustrating to write day after day and feel like no one is listening.

If I had a dollar for every "motivational poster" I found online featuring this exact quote...

It is really depressing, but there are two hopeful ways to look at this situation:

1) It takes forever to develop an audience.

There are motivational blogs ad nauseum to tell you that you aren't going to be an overnight success. I won't add my voice to theirs. You can look around at the world around you and see that it is rare for someone to become famous and respected right off the bat. You need to earn that love and respect. News about you and your work will take time to spread. 

2) As a writer, you should write for the sake of writing.

You didn't start writing just for fame, did you? When you were in elementary school writing short stories instead of playing with the other kids in the playground, I'm sure you did think about being famous one day. That probably wasn't your main motivation, however. You wrote because you didn't feel like you had a choice. You had a story that just had to get out. You wrote because that is what you are, a writer. So, what does it matter if anyone reads your words? You need to write because the words and the ideas need to get out. The audience doesn't make the writer. The act of writing makes the writer.

I resolve to restart this blog starting today. I still have a lot to say. There are interesting things happening in health care ethics that I would like to teach you about (the evolving definition of brain death and the HHS birth control mandate, just to name two). I am entering my last semester as a theology student and I'm sure I will learn things I will want to share. And my new identity as a mother will have certainly an effect on what I write.

There are also three new features I want to start:

- Interviews with people about faith. I started a project a couple years ago interviewing people of various religions and lack of religion about what their personal views were. I heard many fascinating things and learned a lot. Hopefully you will learn as well and have a chance to reflect on your own views.

- Samples of my other writings. I don't just blog, I also write fiction and poetry. I do have book-length projects about motherhood and death and dying.

-Catechesis with a twist. My husband is addicted to He's always sharing with me random factoids he learns on the site. As annoying as he can be, I did have a strike of inspiration. Humor can be a great teaching tool. I'm not a great humor writer, but there are a number of people out in the blogosphere who are. I want to start a site featuring articles teaching about all of the world's religions using oh so slightly offensive humor like what you find on Cracked. E-mail me,, if you are interested in helping make this idea a reality.

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