Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Speaking of health

I'm coming down with a nasty cold. Yuck.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

As long as it’s healthy

People have said that to me a number of times since I started making it public that I got myself knocked up. I tell them that I don’t know if the fetus is a boy or a girl, and they respond, smiling, “As long as it’s healthy.”

Fuck that. I come back to the idea that my child might have cystic fibrosis or any other of a number of conditions or illnesses, genetic or not, and I realize that I just don’t care.

“I’m sure your baby will be healthy,” people tell me, and I conclude that, like Pope John Paul II said from the hospital, this world is elitist about health.

Yes, of course, we should try to eliminate communicable diseases and conditions caused by the toxic environment we create with our overuse of fossil fuels and insistence upon perfectly green manicured lawns. Yes, we should pursue research that allows us to prevent, fight, and cure diseases. No, I don’t look forward to endless doctor visits and treatments that would come with my child being ill.

But shouldn’t we also value the people with diseases? At least in the US, HIV is not the death sentence it once was. People with cystic fibrosis live fulfilling lives well into adulthood. Cancer sucks, but people with cancer can be great contributors to society, even when they cannot be cured.

I hope my child will be happy. I know my child will be loved, no matter what his or her health.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In which I share financial details

Not too long ago, a woman on one of the pregnancy boards I read asked how much money we spent on things for the baby. The responses ranged from just over two thousand to several thousand dollars. I was blown away. Then I added it up.



$50Fat pants, for that pre-maternity wear stage
$150Maternity clothes: two tank tops, one sleeveless shirt, two pairs of shorts, eight pairs of undies
$12Umbrella stroller
$290Diaper supplies for one year: six dozen diapers, over one dozen covers, 15 diaper fasteners, 6 fleece inserts, two dozen flannel wipes
$15Fabric for baby wraps
$38Cyclez and Happy Heiny’s cloth postpartum pads
$42Stork S’port to help hold up my pregnant abdomen

It is kind of expensive. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that I was given…
  • several bags, boxes, and bins of maternity clothes (hundreds of dollars)
  • one relatively new infant car seat (at least $100)
  • one giant bag of Avent baby bottles, pacifiers, breast pads, and Lansinoh ($100 to $200, if I had to guess)
  • one infant bouncy seat ($20-ish)
  • one Exersaucer ($40)
  • one Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper ($150)
  • three fitted Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper sheets ($45)
  • one Boppy ($20)
  • several pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding books ($60)
  • one crib with mattress and bumpers ($200)
  • one changing table with pad and covers ($80)
  • one shitload of baby linens, including crib sheets, blankets, burp cloths, etc. (anywhere from $100 to $300)
…with no other solicitation than, “Hey, if you want it out of your house, I’ll put it to good use.” My main point here being that having a baby without a lot of money really is manageable.

I guess my other point is that this baby stuff is a real racket. Did you know that you can spend over $1000 on a stroller? Or as much on a baby’s bedroom set as an adult’s? It’s not hard to find families (online, of course) who think that the $160 they spent on a high chair was well worth it. Last time I checked, expensive high chairs don’t actually make dinner or feed the baby.

Babies R Us (where, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m registered) gave us a long list of things we “forgot” to put on the baby registry. We couldn’t possibly have intended to leave the store without:
  • wipes
  • bassinet
  • batteries
  • booster car seat
  • car seat base
  • convertible car seat
  • crib
  • diaper bag
  • diaper pail
  • diapers
  • exerciser
  • glider and ottoman
  • high chair
  • infant car seat
  • infant carrier
  • mattress
  • nursery monitor
  • stroller
  • swing
  • travel system
  • travel yard
  • walker
I mean, really. And don’t I want The Best for my baby? Isn’t it vitally important that my baby have nothing but The Best? Or is that a giant crock of shit that’s been flung at me by elitist liberals and conservatives alike? It’s not about being happy; it’s about upping the economy. It’s not about what’s really safe or fulfilling; it’s about being seen in the right places and at the right times. We’ll do just fine with our second-hand things, thanks.

And while we're in the Best Mommy Ever competition, let me just say that, yes, I have had non-communion wine, blue-veined cheese, soft cheese, unpasteurized cider, beer, coffee, tea, espresso, and a veritable truckload of chocolate. And I'm happy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dishwashers gone bad

Demon or dishwasher?

Sometimes, when dishwashers die, they go up in a puff of smoke. "Go up" being figurative; "puff of smoke" being, unfortunately, literal. The soul of this dishwasher, my dishwasher, is evidently in Hell now, should there be such a place.

A closeup of the face, for posterity's sake.


This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
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