10 Things That Changed Me After the Death of a Parent

I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you to lose a parent. It is a larger blow in adulthood I believe, because you are at the point where you are actually friends with your mother or father. Their wisdom has finally sunk in and you know that all of the shit you rolled your eyes at as a teenager really was done out of love and probably saved your life a time or two.

I lost both of mine two years apart; my mother much unexpected and my father rather quickly after a cancer diagnosis. My mom was the one person who could see into my soul and could call me out in the most effective way. She taught me what humanity, empathy and generosity means. My father was the sarcastic realist in the house and one of the most forgiving people I have ever met. If you wanted it straight, with zero bullshit; just go ask my dad.

Grief runs its course and it comes in stages, but I was not prepared for it to never fully go away.

1 My phone is never more than 1 foot away from me at bedtime, because the last time I did that I missed the call that my mother died.

2 The very thought of my mother’s death, at times, made me physically ill for about six months after she died. I literally vomited.

3 Their deaths have at times ripped the remainder of our family apart. I did my best to honor their wishes and sometimes that made me the bad guy. The burden of that was immense, but I understood why I was chosen. It made me stronger as a person, so for that I am grateful.

4 I’m pissed that my son didn’t get to experience them as grandparents. I watched it five times before his birth and I feel robbed. He would have adored them and they him.

5 I would not trade my time with them for anything, but sometimes I think it would have been easier had you died when I was very young. The memories would be less.

6 Don’t bitch about your parents in front of me. You will get an earful about gratitude and appreciation. As a “Dead Parents Club” member, I would take your place in a heartbeat, so shut your mouth. Get some perspective on how truly fleeting life is.

7 It’s like being a widow — a “club” you never wanted to join. Where do I return this unwanted membership, please?

8 Other club members are really the only people who can truly understand what it does to a person. They just get it. There is no other way to explain it.

9 Life does go on, but there will be times even years later, you will still break down like it happened yesterday.

10 When you see your friends or even strangers with their mom or dad, you will sometimes be jealous. Envious of the lunch date they have. Downright pissed that your mom can’t plan your baby shower. Big life events are never ever the same again.

Lisa Schmidt is a Dating and Relationship coach in Detroit and the author of her own blog. She streams regularly on Periscope and is contributor for several online publications. Read via Huffpost. Relationship questions can also be sent to her directly Ask Lisa Here

xxx,

Janice

20 Reasons You’ll Miss Being Pregnant

Enjoy these perks now (they’ll be gone soon enough).

At some point in your life you’ve probably been reminded to “enjoy the journey.” That’s sage advice for most of life’s adventures, but it’s particularly true for the 40 miraculous weeks you’ll spend with your baby growing inside you.

Of course, your rosy glow of pregnancy sometimes can be clouded by less pleasant side effects that come with the turf — everything from finding that your butt and hips having melded into one to the need for buying antacids in bulk. But why bemoan a few inconveniences when your body has just become a miracle of nature? It’s much more rewarding to focus on the positive. “I know this is going to be my last child, so I’m savoring every aspect of my pregnancy,” says Janet Crawford, R.N., a Lamaze-certified childbirth instructor in Boulder, Colo. “Knowing it’s the last time my body will go through this has heightened my appreciation.”

So enjoy this time while it lasts. To help you do so, we’ve compiled a list of 20 things you just might find yourself remembering wistfully once your baby is born.

1) Having a secret

Before anything shows on the outside, you know something’s happening on the inside. For the first few months you might look like your same old self, but you know something that no one else does. (Unless you choose to tell them, of course!)

2) Smiles from total strangers

Once you start showing, you might be surprised at what a friendly place the world has become. You’ve joined the sorority, sister, and your stunning silhouette brings smiles, questions and congratulations.

3) Naps

In our go-go-go world, there may not be another time in your life when you don’t have to feel guilty about sneaking in a 30-minute snooze after lunch. In fact, when you’re pregnant, naps are practically prescribed. So slumber away blissfully: Soon enough you’ll be sleeping on your baby’s schedule — in other words, naps may be the only sleep you’ll get.

4) That rosy glow

The pregnant woman’s glow might be more myth than reality, says Allan Lichtman, M.D., clinical professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. “You do get some increased blood circulation, but it generally doesn’t show on the face,” Lichtman explains.

But just as we’re about to cross this off the list, Lichtman offers another explanation. “I do see wonderful smiles and happiness, and that emotion is translated onto the face.” Aha — an inner glow. Even better.

5) Calories, calories, calories

“Women can eat more during pregnancy because they’re eating for two,” says Mona M. Shangold, M.D., director of the Center for Women’s Health and Sports Gynecology in Philadelphia. “The exact number of calories will depend on how active you are and what your metabolic rate is.” If you play your cards right, you can potentially extend this benefit for another year or so by nursing your baby — you’ll need the extra calories to produce all that milk.

6) The anticipation

There’s a certain excitement in looking forward to events — it allows us to extend and savor our enjoyment of them. “I know that there’s a lot of hard work ahead taking care of an infant,” says expectant mom Crawford. But the anticipation phase is pure enjoyment: “I look forward to nursing another child, I look forward to my sons meeting their brother,” she says. “Knowing that all that wonderful stuff is on the way, it’s like waiting for Christmas.”

7) Indulging your cravings sans guilt

“It’s important for pregnant women to listen to what their bodies want,” says Susan Kundrat, M.S., R.D., a sports and wellness nutritionist and owner of Nutrition on the Move in Champaign, Ill. “A woman may be craving a food that is high in a nutrient she really needs.” Just watch portion sizes and make sure your cravings are part of a balanced diet, she adds. Satisfy your cravings with our recipes that are delicious and nutritious.

This is your very own pregnancy, and you get to indulge whatever cravings your hormones concoct. Mangoes? Chocolate chip cookies? Steak? Go for it.

8) Feeling special

The humdrum of daily routine can suck the feeling-specialness out of the best of us. But is there anything more special than creating life? “I tell people, ‘Do you realize that you are making a person inside you?'” Lichtman says. “Making a person!” Nothing humdrum about that.

9) Being the center of attention

Pregnancy may be the last time in a long while that you are the center of attention. “Once they have the baby, so many women are so instantly wrapped up in — and overwhelmed by — caring for their infant that they immediately forget the recent experience of being pregnant,” says Crawford. Also, the outside world pays attention to you when you’re pregnant and to the baby once it’s born. So go ahead and savor the fact that, for now, the focus is on you.

10) The shopping

New clothes for you. New clothes for baby. New furniture, new gadgets, new linens (check out our Buyer’s Guide). Yellow and green if you don’t know, pink or blue if you do. Socks smaller than your pinkie finger, whimsical hats with ears attached. Just remember that you do still have to save for college.

11) Tiny hiccups & big kicks

There is simply no substitute for the wonder of feeling your child move inside you. “Movement is just a winner for everybody,” Lichtman says. Ultrasounds and sonograms are wondrous but distant meetings with your unborn child. It’s that first squirm in your belly that signals a personal hello.

For the next several months, you’ll be tracking kicks and rolls and what feel like somersaults, learning the rhythm of your child’s day before anyone else. The first time your baby has the hiccups after she’s born will be a sweet yet sad reminder of what you used to feel inside.

12) Being taken care of

You’re led to the front of the line, the door is cheerily opened for you, and your sweetie even offers to bring you a snack and rub your feet. Isn’t this the way life should be? So what if it isn’t PC — it sure is fun. Let’s face it, after your baby’s born, you will be the one carrying the bundle and wiping up messes wherever you go.

13) All that motivation

When pregnant, you’re motivated like never before — you watch what you eat, eliminate unhealthful habits, get plenty of rest and stay physically active. “Pregnancy is a good opportunity for a woman to develop a sound nutrition plan and healthy habits for the rest of her life,” Kundrat says. Cutting your daily dose of caffeine, eliminating artificial sweeteners and increasing your water intake are all smart moves for baby. If you can stick with them, these better habits will serve you well for years to come.

14) Fabulous follicles

Some women will get thicker hair during pregnancy and some won’t, says Shangold. (Changing hormone levels can synchronize hair growth so it is all in the same phase, meaning more hairs might be on your head at a given time.) Like everything else on the list, enjoy it while it lasts.

15) Who cares if your clothes fit?

This may be the only time in your life when you’re supposed to expand like a balloon. But don’t use that as an excuse to inflate beyond reason: A steady, gradual and not too extreme weight gain is advised during pregnancy.

16) You’re never alone

Of course, you will have your bundle of joy when it’s all over and done with. But sharing your body with your child provides an intimacy unmatched by any other relationship.

17) A better body image

Pregnancy brings countless changes to your body. Paying attention to the nuances of that child growing inside you means you’ll feel everything from your breath to your belly with new appreciation. “A lot of people are more aware of their bodies during pregnancy,” Shangold says. But, she adds, some women are not so happy with the way their bodies change. “It would be nice if all pregnant women would think of the pregnant body as being beautiful,” she says.

18) Having pregnancy as an excuse

Forgot where you parked? That’s OK — you’re pregnant. Need to walk slowly? That’s OK — you’re pregnant. Just want to sit and daydream? Of course you do — you’re pregnant. Behavior that raises eyebrows in “real life” seems universally excused for now. Just blame it on pregnancy brain.

19) The newness of it all

When was the last time you were truly surprised? Or experienced something completely new? In this day of Internet information, television, fax and instant everything, there isn’t much wonder left in the world. Until you become pregnant, that is. For 40 weeks, almost every day brings something new. In a way, both you and your baby are experiencing a birth.

20) Taking part in the miracle of life

It sounds like a cliché — until it happens to you. During the course of your pregnancy, it’s hard not to marvel at the little bit of destiny growing inside you and follow its progress with acute interest: two cells, then four, then eight. The size of a pea, then a peanut. A heartbeat, fingers, toes. Inside you. Fit pregnancy by Dagny Scott Barrios.

xxxxx,

Janice

50 Things Every Guy Should Know About Pregnancy and Parenthood

1. From the very moment she announces her pregnancy, she’ll be the center of attention — not you. Get used to it.

2. When the baby comes, they’ll both be the center of attention — not you. Aren’t you glad you had nine months to practice going unnoticed?

3. Your house is too small, it was always too small, and to suggest otherwise simply proves that your brain is too small.

4. Are you about to make your mom and dad grandparents for the first time? Get ready for some ambivalence. There’s no such thing as a young grandparent; give them some time to deal with the shock.

5. She will want to use a birthing center. She will want a midwife. She will want a doctor. She will not want an epidural. She will scream for an epidural. Cesareans will sound great; they will sound awful. Agree with her always.

6. Lamaze is to childbirth what yoga is to football. Sort of. Just do it.

7. Her sense of smell will be so acute, you’ll be tempted to airlift her to join a search-and-rescue team.

8. You’re not really the coach. They’ll tell you that you are, but there will come a time when it’s time to shut your mouth and let her finish out the last two minutes of the game. Then you’ll step in and cut the net.

9. You will be short on cash. You will not buy clothes for yourself for a year. You will consider canceling cable. You will never own a flat-screen TV. But there will always be money for a crib, three car seats, two strollers and more plastic things in Day-Glo colors than you can throw a rattle at.

10. Buy new tires now.

11. During the first week home from the hospital, you will learn to love lasagna.

12. Yes, you’re holding the baby wrong. Do it her way.

13. By the time you change your third diaper, it will seem like the most normal thing in the world.

14. You won’t faint. No one does.

15. Be careful about the word we. For instance, never say, “We didn’t mind amniocentesis at all.”

16. There will come a day when you’ll be your child’s hero. Enjoy it — it won’t last.

17. Contractions are funny things (not ha-ha funny, either). Chances are they won’t match the chart you get at Lamaze. When she says it’s time to call the doctor and go to the hospital, it’s time to call the doctor and go to the hospital.

18. When your mother pulls you aside and tells you that breastfeeding will ruin her breasts, that babies only need to eat every four hours and that if you pick him up every time he cries he’ll never be independent enough to go to summer camp, don’t believe her.

19. During the second week home from the hospital, you will learn to love lasagna.

20. You’ll be surprised and amazed how well you can function on so little sleep.

21. Your child will like her best for a long time. You’ll get your turn — it just comes much later.

22. Tell everybody about the birth. It’s one of the few times people will be genuinely happy about your good fortune.

23. No one knows why babies use so many clothes, especially since they don’t get out much. It’s one of life’s little mysteries.

24. It’s perfectly normal to stare at a sleeping baby for two hours. It’s even normal to videotape a sleeping baby for two hours.

25. Whatever bad phase your kid is going through, you’ll find a solution. However, by the time you do that, he or she will be on to a new, even more confusing phase.

26. Things you thought would make you sick but won’t: baby poop, baby pee, baby puke — and having all of them on your shirt.

27. During the third month home — yep. Lasagna.

28. Pregnant sex is a wonderful thing.

29. While we’re on the subject of sex, it’s called “making love” and will be for at least a year.

30. Take a flask to the hospital.

31. She’ll have the appetite of a truck driver—and for good reason: she’s feeding your child! Save the commentary.

32. Try not to talk incessantly about your baby at work. There’ll be plenty of time for that when you get home.

33. If she wants drugs during childbirth, go get the doctor. Don’t ask, “Are you sure?”

34. The delivery room is the only place where screaming and pushing can actually strengthen your relationship.

35. Sometime after the birth, you and your wife will go on a “date.” Midway through, you both will start missing the baby.

36. You’ll get more advice from your childless friends. Parents will usually shrug and say, “It’ll pass.”

37. Now you know why your friends with newborns never let you visit, except to bring food.

38. A nanny is not a lactation consultant is not a day nurse is not a midwife is not a La Leche League leader is not a gynecologist is not a pediatrician. Learn the taxonomy.

39. After a slew of family visits, you will learn to appreciate “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

40. You don’t really have to be in the delivery room. JK! You do.

41. You won’t be able to trade in the less useful gifts for takeout.

42. Breast milk is to your baby like the yellow sun is to Superman. Lay off the bottles in the fridge.

43. A gym membership is not a push present. Save it for yourself.

44. She is Sybil. You must be Leo Buscaglia, Tony Robbins, Billy Graham and Phil Jackson all rolled into one. Hormones can make her feel like she has multiple personalities. Get to know each one, and roll with it. This is temporary.

45. It’s great to be pregnant — for the first two weeks. After amnio, genetic testing and lectures on breech births, you’ll be filled with a mix of anxiety and elation for the rest of your life. Give your parents a hug.

46. Now you know why all those dads at the mall walk around in those doofy cotton sweats.

47. Memorize these names: Baby Bjorn, My Brest Friend, Boppy.

48. Within six months, you’ll resume some semblance of a sex life.

49. Your baby will like Gerber better than anything you make from scratch.

50. Of course it changes everything.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Two fathers share the nitty-gritty details that every dad-to-be needs to know. Via fit pregnancy. By Chistopher Napolitano and Stephen Randall.

xxxxx,

Janice

I DON’T HELP MY WIFE. YOU SHOULDN’T EITHER.

I do not help my wife.

A friend came to my house for coffee, we sat and talked about life. At some point in the conversation, I said, “I’m going to wash the dishes and I’ll be right back.”

He looked at me as if I had told him I was going to build a space rocket. Then he said to me with admiration but a little perplexed: “I’m glad you help your wife, I do not help because when I do, my wife does not praise me. Last week I washed the floor and no thanks.”

I went back to sit with him and explained that I did not “help” my wife. Actually, my wife does not need help, she needs a partner. I am a partner at home and through that society are divided functions, but it is not a “help” to do household chores.

I do not help my wife clean the house because I live here too and I need to clean it too.

I do not help my wife to cook because I also want to eat and I need to cook too.

I do not help my wife wash the dishes after eating because I also use those dishes.

I do not help my wife with her children because they are also my children and my job is to be a father.

I do not help my wife to wash, spread or fold clothes, because the clothes are also mine and my children.

I am not a help at home, I am part of the house. And as for praising, I asked my friend when it was the last time after his wife finished cleaning the house, washing clothes, changing bed sheets, bathing her children, cooking, organizing, etc. You said thank you

But a thank you of the type: Wow, sweetheart !!! You are fantastic!!!

Does that seem absurd to you? Are you looking strange? When you, once in a lifetime, cleaned the floor, you expected in the least, a prize of excellence with great glory … why? You never thought about that, my friend?

Maybe because for you, the macho culture has shown that everything is her job.

Perhaps you have been taught that all this must be done without having to move a finger? Then praise her as you wanted to be praised, in the same way, with the same intensity. Give her a hand, behave like a true companion, not as a guest who only comes to eat, sleep, bathe and satisfy needs … Feel at home. In his house.

The real change of our society begins in our homes, let us teach our sons and daughters the real sense of fellowship!

Author unknown but truly awesome…via momminghard

xxxxxx,

Janice