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  1. Thank you all for your encouragement ladies. I've read through this twice and no doubt will once or twice more to try and process everything. Unfortunately a mid-term birth control is off the table, which is what makes this so much harder! I'd happily go that route if I could, but, hormonal birth control isn't an option for me medically for multiple reasons, including history of cholestasis and a high sensitivity emotionally to hormone changes. There's a small chance I could tolerate the mini-pill, but that one has to be taken at the same time every day, a few hours late and it doesn't work. I'm lucky if I remember my medications daily at all, much less the same hour each day, not gonna happen. The copper IUD, while it's primary function is to stop sperm meeting egg, if the sperm makes it through and meets an egg and fertilises (since we know nothing is 100% and this does happen) it also makes an inhospitable environment in the uterus, preventing implantation of a fertilised egg. Since we believe life begins at fertilisation, not implantation, it's not something we're open to. I did discuss with DH a copper IUD, whether the small chance of killing a fertilised egg was acceptable in this instance, however we discovered that, in the small chance the IUD fails, the chance of the pregnancy being ectopic is increased. Not only did I have one ectopic but we suspect one of my miscarriages was actually a second ectopic which naturally resolved, so I am definitely at a higher risk, and while ectopic pregnancies are always dangerous, due to the unusual circumstances of both the confirmed and unconfirmed ectopics I had, it would be doubly dangerous for me. So that pretty much sealed the deal, it's condoms or the snip (spermicide isn't really used in Australia, I suppose it's probably available but I don't even know where I'd buy it, it's definitely not common and I know very little about it) Regarding doctors taking my miscarriages seriously, again I'm in Australia so things work a little differently. I can't just choose to see a GYN unless I want to pay through the nose (and I can't just choose to see an OB at all, births are always handled by midwives unless you're high risk or private health here, and we definitely don't make enough money for private health). Because miscarriage is considered fairly normal you have to have 3 before they'll refer you to a fertility clinic. But because doctors think they are gods I am yet to find one who will accept my miscarriages which weren't confirmed by blood test. I've only had one miscarriage and one ectopic confirmed by blood test, the others I dealt with at home for various reasons that weren't taking doctor requirements into consideration at the time. I had a doctor willing to count the ectopic as a miscarriage and refer me after one more confirmed miscarriage, but then we hit the infertility. I could now get a referral due to a year of infertility, but I very much doubt they'll consider my miscarriages in my treatment for the same reasons I couldn't get a miscarriage referral in the first place. I did get a basic workup through the GP and everything checked out, but they can't order certain tests which are GYN only. In watching all this debate over public health in the US, there's a lot of benefits to public healthcare and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but this is one of the downsides, you don't just get to go see a specialist on a whim, you must be referred by your GP, the GP is the gatekeeper to everything. Most specialists work in hospitals, they don't have offices to visit. You're all quite right that I'm letting myself be influenced too much by the people around me. I am told that's in part an age thing (I'm 26, kids are 7, 5 and 4), and I think they're right, I'm caring less about others opinions as I get older, but I'm not at the stage most of you are yet. Also, I come from a trauma background, some of you will remember I have C-PTSD, so I do unfortunately look for approval for things I do and acceptance. I'm working on it, it's a therapy point. I am fortunate that, while the women around me are for 'openness', they are also staunchy, unhealthily, into submitting to your husband (I believe in wifely submission too, but that doesn't mean we don't argue or debate. These women talk about how they actively avoid bringing up their problems or opinions or avoid disagreeing to begin with... it's a sad situation). The result of that is, the last time I discussed this at a group event and I had a good cry about it (because they have been very supportive through my losses and infertility) they were pushing me to remain open until I said DH had pretty much made up his mind and was just giving me grace until I could come to terms with it, at which point their attitudes all changed rather bizarrely and abruptly to 'well there's nothing you can do about it then and you need to work on letting go so you can submit joyfully and quickly". I didn't tell them DH would keep trying if I insisted on it, because i'd be chastised for 'forcing my will on him'. Sigh, such an unhealthy dynamic... but they genuinely are beautiful supportive people otherwise, I've never had a group accept my mental illness or past so gracefully, or help my family in practical ways so readily, as these women. It's so rare to find a group you can be open with who will truly support each other emotionally and practically. I can call any of them at any time and they're there. Right now the most vocal of these women takes my kids to co-op once a week so I can have a mental health day weekly! One helps me clean my house regularly because I physically struggle with it and DH is disabled too and overburdened! One is starting a group garden and beehive in her backyard to benefit all of us! And three of them have, at various points over the years, come over or picked my kids up at a moments notice during crisis times. So they truly do mean well, they're just a little misguided on some things. Anyway, I digress, I just wanted to say that their hearts are in the right place, but I'm definitely on the outside as far as beliefs go, they all consider me super liberal because my kids listen to the mainstream radio and have their own laptops for school and I actually argue with and share my opinions with my husband, nevermind that I'm a head covering, skirts only, complementatian homeschooling mama! People are funny... If a mid-term BC was an option I'd take it, but given the choice between condoms and the snip, I am sure in my heart we're not meant to have an oopsie now. While I always dreamed of a big dining table surrounded by kids, God has brought me a lot of joy in the past 6 months realising how very special and beautiful my three little girls are, all 21 months apart, so close and best friends, a group who will grow up together and be able to do things together and at the same time. As much as I wanted a boy, I see that God knew what he was doing because a single boy with two girls would have made me sad for him, but three little girls do everything together. It's different, but it is beautiful. And later on, I have come to be excited about being young with teens and adults, being active and involved. Women in my family had children young, my kids great grandparents are only in their late 70s and are an extremely active part of their lives. They have a good chance of seeing great-great grandchildren one day. I see things in the church and community not being done because women are working, and I see gaps I could fill, things I'd enjoy doing. And I want to be a super active grandma one day. And I look forward to the more emotionally involved teenage and young adult years, I don't do physical needs very well, but I can sit and talk emotions and life choices all night, I had a taste of that with my younger brother and his girlfriend living with us last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea of doing that without little ones underfoot is definitely growing on me. I suppose it is mostly peers causing doubt, and the worry I will want to start again later and have that door closed. But DH pointed out yesterday when I spoke to him about this, that his disability will likely get worse as he gets older. It wont kill him, but it will impact his daily functioning and limit what he can do. He says that due to this, he has no doubt in his mind that he will not want to start again when we're older, because from what we can predict now, trying to be a good father when he's 50 will be far, far more difficult for him than it is now at 30. I suppose I hadn't considered that either. But he's right, he will have a long and happy life but he already has to slow down now and will have to slow down more as he ages. Thank you to those who also shared my hopes/convictions of a large family for sharing your stories. It's nice to know I'm not alone in having the heart for a large family but discovering it wasn't what God had planned for me. I'm glad to know there's hope on the other side, and thank you to those who said I am not 'less than' or a 'failure' for 'only' having three. While those things are obvious and I would of course never say I was a failure, it's funny how you can internalise those messages subconsciously, and I think I have been feeling those things, like I was meant to do one thing and I can't/won't. I think I need to have a long hard look at how I define myself and my life, and redefine what my life is about, because I never intended to define myself as only a mother, I don't believe that, but it seems I subconsciously did so anyway. I think the doubt is in large part uncertainty and those possibilities looming. Someone above said that they felt better once the decision was made and final. After this long journey I think we need the closure, and I need to no longer second guess what might be or whether I want more in the future even though I know it's almost certain I wont/cant. I want to focus on moving on, and leaving this terrible rut that loss and infertility has caused, where even now we're preventing it I feel anxious and unwell after ovulating each month because of the months and years of trauma and/or disappointment from trying. If we leave the door open, I feel like we will never get the closure to this bittersweet chapter we both need. I want to dream of the future without doubting or questioning whether or not there should be children there, I want to get rid of the baby things and begin planning what I want to do with my life as my kids get older with confidence and certainty instead of doubt. I've been mulling over this and grieving for 9 months now... I'm ready, I just needed a final bit of support, so thank you all. I'm going to tell him tonight. And you know what? I actually feel excited. Now that I KNOW, and I've made the decision, I honestly feel a weight lifted and I feel excited about the new opportunities this opens up for me that a large family and having toddlers and teenagers under one roof would have prevented or made harder. I know I'll have a cry tonight, and a cry before he has his surgery, but I actually feel happy, which I didn't expect. I feel relieved and at peace, and that should tell me what the answer was all along. Thank you all so much for this final push of clarity, focus, and clarification to help me block out the peer pressure and previous ideas and see what I actually think and feel inside more clearly. You didn't all give the same opinion, there were multiple viewpoints here and that helped immensely too. Thank you.
  2. I don't post much here anymore, but I wanted some outside perspective and I'm not sure where else I would find such a broad array of opinions, rather than the two extremes I am exposed to in my daily life. When DH and I got married we believed in having a large family. We both grew up homeschooled, he was one of 8, I was one of 5 and we grew up with lots of anti-birth control families. Our anti-birth control stance changed when I had HG in my pregnancies followed by an inability to breastfeed, and we realised a back-to-back pregnancy could kill me, so we began spacing but we still fully intended to have a large family. We had three beautiful babies as well as one miscarriage in the middle. And then it all went wrong. Two miscarriages, then a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that, due to it's unusual circumstances, could have killed me. And after having to wait 6 months for the ectopic medication to clear my system (we actually waited 9 or 10 to be absolutely sure) we tried again, only to be faced with an immediate miscarriage again. And then, nothing. Despite trying and tracking and everything possible, absolutely nothing for over a year. I know a year of trying can be perfectly normal, but all 8 of the previous pregnancies were conceived within 1-3 cycles of not-trying-too-hard, so for my body, that's telling me something is very wrong. We thought about going through medical means to conceive again, but we realised there were a number of problems with it. Not least of which being, only one of my 4 miscarriages was confirmed in a doctors office, which means they'll discount the others, and they might give me fertility medication but they won't even consider the miscarriage issue until I have a couple more under their care. I can't do that, I can't go down that path knowing I will most likely lose another baby or two before they even think about addressing the secondary issue. I can't choose to force the conception of a baby I don't think will survive. On top of that my youngest is now 4. I always said I never wanted large spaces between my children, right from the beginning. There is a huge difference, to me and in my mind, between adding on a new baby when you've got a toddler, and starting right back at the beginning with a new baby when your kids are all school age and you've passed that stage of life (and realistically, my youngest would probably be 6 before a sibling were born at this point). Some women do it, and do it well, and I take my hat off to them. But I don't think I'm one of them, I don't think I can do it. So I do strongly believe we're done having children now, I've spent the past 6 months grieving this and learning to accept a new chapter of my life and a new vision of my family. The thing is, my DH said he would support whichever route I took, but that, if we were done, he wanted to be DONE, and get the snip. Neither of us do well with change and surprises, and he can't stomach the thought of accepting it's over and then in a few years time being thrown into babies and pregnancy again. I know he's right, I agree with him in theory. But actually saying 'yes, ok, lets make this final, book the appointment' is really hard and I feel like I can't do it. It's made harder by the fact I'm currently surrounded by women who think we should just keep going unprotected and 'see what the Lord brings', they don't seem to understand my fear of another miscarriage. Or ones who say 'you might want to start again in a few more years when your kids are older', because they see my worry about spacing as trivial at best, and selfish at worst. I say that, and I can defend my decision here, but in reality they have me doubting myself. What if I do want to start again later, as an older mother? What if God does want me to keep persisting and have the large family he convicted me of all those years ago? What if making the final decision turns out to be a terrible, horrible mistake? My solution was to keep using protection for now, until I felt more at peace. But that was all shattered last week during a... rather boisterous tea party, and protection slipped off without DH realising until it was too late. He didn't cope well, and is indicating he now wants to abstain until I make a final decision either way, whether it's contacting the baby doctor or the vasectomy doctor, he is no longer comfortable with my 'we're done but haven't made sure' stance. I'm just so scared it's the wrong decision or I'll regret it later, I know inside I'm done, I feel sick with fear that our little mishap could result in a pregnancy and I don't know how I'll cope if it does (I'm nearly certain it hasn't, I'm one of those people who gets symptoms within a few days, so I think we're in the clear). My emotional reaction in itself should be enough to tell me we're ready to make this decision permanent, because I never ever thought I would look on a potential pregnancy with fear or praying for it to not happen. I guess my beliefs have changed a lot since those earlier years when I believed we should have a large family, and that's a factor too, have my beliefs changed or am I ignoring what I believe because it's now uncomfortable? I want to say all those loses and then the unexplained infertility is our sign from God saying we're done, but the idea of actively preventing any more goes against everything I used to think. I don't know, I'm confused, and I think I know the right answer, it's just been so hard to accept and so far from where I thought we would be. I guess I want to find a way to feel better about it. I had my kids young, and as much as another pregnancy scares me, having all my children be adults before I'm 40 scares me too! I'll be an empty nester when many women are only just beginning their families. I never really imagined that, I kind of imagined transitioning smoothly from motherhood to grandmotherhood, I have no intentions of having a career post-kids, so now the prospects of my 40s scare me a lot as well. Nothing is what I imagined, and making a permanent decision, even if I think it's the right one, seems too much and too overwhelming for me.
  3. Oh, and I also know a homeschooled child who is allergic to all fruits and vegetables. Apparently she's allergic to the natural preservative plants have? She has other complicated health issues and constant specialist visits including a gut specialist and dietician so it's absolutely legit Bodies are crazy
  4. Legit. My friends child had salmonella at 6 weeks, despite being breastfed and her mother having actual OCD, so, pristine home. It was crazy Anyway, her gut was destroyed. She became intollerant to ALL the things, milk, wheat, oats, soy, preservatives, the lot. They eventually worked out she could eat meat if it was grass fed organic but couldn't tolerate regular meat, possibly because of the diet the animal consumed as she was not celiac but rather is intolerant to the grain proteins which is why she's also intolerant to oats. And when I say that I mean if her mother ate a regular chicken piece and then breastfed her she would have blood filled diapers for two days. Yes it was that bad. So after supporting her through that for the past 4 years, a sensitive pesticide allergy is quite believable to me
  5. Oh God Melissa, please tell us this won't effect the twins. That's all I've thought about following this whole thread. Permanent placement is not always permenant here, and they need you so badly. I think fostering is so important but... I just couldn't ever do it in our current system, nor could I put bio children through it. It's so wrong because those kids need help too, I grew up around a lot of foster kids and a good home changes a life, but... It's an impossible situation, the system is beyond broken. At least the one saving grace here is that your kids are older and you're not supporting little ones through this. If there's anything at all us Australians can do let us know. I'm not on here much anymore but I've been checking in on this thread regularly.
  6. Yup, I'm legally blind, my parents started the tradition as a decoration I could see and interact with, balloons covering the lounge room floor in front of the tree on Christmas morning. It kinda just stuck
  7. I'm surprised how many people here hate it but still do it. I would just say no. My husband and I told everyone on the first year of marriage that we would not be going to big family events Christmas eve or Christmas day as we had our own traditions to create and we were trying for a baby by the following Christmas and knew we did not want to take our kids away from home and presents on Christmas, so we were setting the precedent now. We were both eldests so it was hard, but we did set an open door policy on Christmas day, anyone at all is welcome to our home Christmas day, we just won't leave it. There was hurt feelings and passive aggressiveness to begin with, but now, my maternal grandma and grandad come to my home Christmas day, my dad and stepmother used to but now come the 26th so they can do her sides family things on the day, and my husbands side, for all their complaining and nastiness adjusting to it at the time, now set a date for Christmas, this year it's the 27th, and everyone is grateful for it as 5 of the 8 kids are now married and juggling family and multiple people are working in jobs which continue Christmas day (aged care nursing and a resteraunt popular with tourists)
  8. In Australia Christmas is often all about the seafood. I can't afford to do a seafood feast for everyone and DH hates it anyway. But on Christmas Eve we take the kids to look at lights one last time and then once the kids go to bed my husband makes me a prawn, mango and avocado salad just for myself. Last year he branched out and actually got me in-shell lobster (enough for just one person isn't so expensive). It's my reward for a crazy day of cooking and a week of work previously lol. I watch the christmas eve carols in peace while he blows up balloons. I also love just sitting in front of the tree in the evening, its peaceful and calming and lovely.
  9. I live in QLD, that may effect my perspective. I have heard the homeless situation is more dire in Sydney and Melbourne, but even then my impression is it's mostly confined to the inner city. But perhaps there's more difference between states than I'm aware of.
  10. I think the fact is we just don't have that kind of issue with homeless families and children on the streets in Australia so we don't have or need anything comparable. There are some, of course, there's always some, but nothing like in the US thanks to our social security net. In Australia a family with children is never going to be in a position of being unable to eat thanks to the Family Tax Benefit, and far less restrictive unemployment benefits, and they are priority #1 for government funded housing and emergency housing through the government. A family (i.e. with kids, who get extra payments for them) who can't use the safety net to stay fed and off the street is likely going to be picked up by child services for other issues like drugs pretty quickly. There are very few reasons for a family with children to endure true homelessness in Australia, except possibly a single parent with one child who might slip through the cracks if they don't know how to access the various help and charities available to them. There was a spat of them during the GFC, but many were camping in tents with their stuff in storage while they waited to try find a new house after their current one was foreclosed, often after the father was laid off. These weren't people in poverty, just people who couldn't afford their mortgages, were between jobs, and hadn't worked out the next step yet. You might say these kids could benefit from such a charity because it is still a traumatic event, yes, but most of these kids from what stories I saw had all the 'stuff' they needed from their home. even their tents and sleeping bags were better quality than the ones my working-class family owns since they were from middle-class families. The parental stress was the primary trauma, and that would occur whether in a house or not. There are families and children listed in the homeless statistics but you do have to remember that a. 'children' in those statistics are referring to under 18s I believe, so all the teenage runaways are in there, and there IS a lot of those, no doubt, I suspect we might have a bigger issue with homeless teens than America, but most of ours crash with friends or houseshare or do other things for a roof. Our safety net sucks for people on their own and really sucks for under 21s. and b. our homeless statistics include people temporarily living with family, or a non-stationary caravan, or camping out in-between homes, and a number of other situations that are much less dire than people expect. I believe technically my brother and his girlfriend who are living with us are part of the homeless statistic because they aren't on the lease, nor are they dependants, they are considered 'couch surfing' which is included in homelessness. I've seen a number of times now people in Australia asking how to help the homeless and coming up empty because they just... aren't there. The ideas of the homeless come from American media, and we certainly do have some people living on the street, mostly the very elderly, disabled, and runaway youths, but it's a completely different situation to the one in the US. I live in a low income area and I know a couple of rich people from a local housing estate decided to make a big do about taking donations for the homeless in our (fairly large and poor) town. But next thing we saw, they were asking how to FIND the homeless people to give stuff to because there were only one or two in the park and none anywhere else they could spot. They got directed to the food bank and community centre but almost everyone who goes there is working class but renting a house somewhat comfortably, or pensioners who often have a home but struggle to afford anything else, not what this group had originally wanted. I didn't hear from them again after that. I will say, my family got help from the Smith Family one year and it was a huge blessing, during a very difficult year. They are connected with many of the most at-risk families through various channels, and they do great work. But even during that terrible year we managed to keep a roof over our heads very easily thanks to the social security net here. Heck, when we needed a baby capsule for our newborn that year it was just given to us (I believe that came from the benevolent society, another very good one though very closely linked in with child services...) Even now, we are single income, and things are tight by our standards, but, when I read of American parents actually skipping meals to feed their kids... that's just insanity and from what I know not the reality for anyone in Australia except those with addictions or other added issues. I grew up low income, went to a poor school then homeschooled with poor people back when it was still illegal, I still associate mostly with 'bogans' and those considered in poverty by our standards, and am there myself, but I've never known anyone to become live-on-the-streets homeless through poverty, ever. (though, I might be about to if my brother and his girlfriend don't get their butts into gear very, very soon... :lol:) It's a bad habit we have developed, of looking at the social issues of America and assuming that they are also issues here. We have poor people, and they do suffer and struggle, but our poor have very different issues to the American poor, and a very different lifestyle. And our poorest people are definitely, 100% better off than the poorest Americans. I doubt my family, with two disabled parents, only one working and that one working part time, and three kids, could ever survive in the US. But we manage to do fine, even thrive, here.
  11. I haven't read the previous posts so I don't know what's already been said. I just wanted to say, I struggled greatly with the same thing. I was absolutely convinced universalism was not the right way, the only way to the father is through the son, etc. But eternal damnation never sat right with me even as a child. Eventually I landed here, with a type of annihalationism I don't endorse ANYTHING else on this website. But he happens to also have the most comprehensive, biblically referenced argument I've ever found for the topic, so I reluctantly continue to use this link lol http://biblelight.net/hell.htm This is a more moderate comparison by some guy, in 4 parts http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2015/02/is-annihilation-an-evangelical-option/ http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2015/02/biblical-support-for-annihilation/ http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2015/02/biblical-arguments-for-eternal-conscious-torment/ http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theologyintheraw/2015/02/my-terminal-blog-on-the-terminal-punishment-of-hell/ I can sit happily with this view. In this view it is not that everyone should go to heaven and then some people go to eternal torment, fairly or not (one of the motivating factors was my refusal to believe that people in non-christian nations could be sent to eternal torment for not having the chance to hear of God). Plus, God said eternal life was for the saved, not for everyone and some just got a good one while others got a bad one. Rather, in this viewpoint, everyone dies, no torture and suffering, just plain old death, not so bad, and then those who have devoted themselves to Jesus and been saved will go to heaven and have eternal life, but, still, those who don't just die, it's not a punishment, it's just the default state of humanity that some are blessed to be saved from, rather than heaven being the default and hell being a 'punishment'. Whether there is some suffering before the death relative to the wrongdoings of the sinner is up for debate, I personally think the bible speaks of hell and judgement being 'worse' for some than others often enough to accept there is probably something more involved before death, but we don't have details except that it will be worse for some.
  12. I'm so sorry for what's happened in your situation However, I entirely disagree with you. I know a woman who was not a victim, and she is extraordinarily protective. Myself? As some here know I was a victim of very severe and ongoing sexual abuse and exploitation. And what I learned was... avoiding sleepovers and not letting our kids outside alone won't protect them. My parents were strict in that sense, there were friends I was not allowed to visit because mum got bad vibes from their parents, I couldn't use the internet (I'm fairly young... MSN and myspace was all the rage when I was a preteen), I never took the bus or really went anywhere alone until mums breakdown when I was a preteen. And yet, I was a victim of some of the most horrible abuse there could be, plus the groping of multiple other predators unconnected with my long term abuse and grooming from a teacher (I guess I sent out 'victim' vibes heh...) and none of it was never stopped, for numerous reasons including my own inability to report and the dismissal of the reporting I did do because my parents were so focused on the big scary stranger they ignored the threats closer to home. As a parent, my focus is not on prevention, because what I learned is that I can't entirely prevent my kids from being hurt, just prevent them from having a number of experiences I consider very important. I could ban all sleepovers and alone time, and then discover their uncle molested them during a family event or someone online got in contact with them despite all the 'safety' parents think they are putting on computers. Instead I focus on teaching them how to cope, both during and after, if the worst ever happened. Sexual abuse, while traumatic in it's own right, is rarely the cause of long term problems for victims. The cause is frequently the shame, not processing what happened, dismissal, subsequent emotional abuse, not being believed, not being able to avoid the person, guilt, other peoples reactions, and things like that. By preparing my children on how to react during an attack, and preparing them ahead of time on things like it's never their fault, they aren't made bad by others actions, their body is their own to control, etc, plus ensuring that they will tell me anything that happens and assuring them I will believe them above any adult, always, I think I am preparing them the best way I know how. When my mum had her breakdown she went from super protective to not caring anymore, and I was allowed sleepovers, to travel alone, to go online without supervision, and to be picked up by random people in random cars to go random places and all sorts of other activities. The simple fact, in MY life, is none of those activities led to the abuse I endured, my abuse came from other 'safe' sources. In the end though, the people who put an end to my abuse, confronted my abusers, and freed me once and for all were those sleepover friends, those kids who picked me up in their cars to go places, and most importantly the man twice my age who spoke to me online every day (and still does to this day, I owe him my life, though with hindsight even I would be suspicious of that friendship! He truly did have pure intentions lol.)
  13. My husband and I both have chronic illnesses and I have a genetic disability, along with assorted other medical issues. They, in combination, are serious enough to impact our kids daily life and cause it to look somewhat different to their friends lives. For this reason, not telling them was never an option. We decided it was something we just wanted them to grow up knowing, no big reveal or conversation, we wanted it to be something they just always knew and added details to as they got old enough to understand. This seems to be working for us at the moment, I can't say there's been any real disadvantage to telling them, and it's allowed us to reassure them during hard times. When I was 3 my baby sister died (lived 7 1/2 weeks), and I wasn't allowed to see or know most of it at the time and I was handed off to relatives a lot at a moments notice. I suppose it makes sense for a 3 year old, but it had a serious impact on me, and I believe it was not the right decision on multiple levels, for multiple reasons. As a result, when I suffered a ruptured ectopic pregnancy last year, we made the decision to bring the children into the ER, and the doctors even allowed them to walk me to surgery prep. I explained the ultrasound and the IV and a simplified version of what was happening (they knew I was pregnant because we didn't know it was ectopic until week 8, and I had hyperemesis in my previous pregnancies so waiting until the second trimester to say I was pregnant wasn't really an option to us.). By being open with the kids and bringing them in it made an extremely frightening situation of mummy being rushed to hospital into a calmer one. They understood I was being cared for, they saw the doctors and the big decisions being made quickly, they saw reassuring faces saying it would be ok, they saw real things happening, not a big scary cloud of 'what if'. While it was a horrible experience no matter what, given that they knew I was pregnant already I feel, a year later, that it was a great decision to make. I was worried about nightmares or residual fears from having witnessed me going into surgery or the chaos of an ER (I was in the resuscitation ward so the scarier part of the ER), but that never happened. They talk about that day, and even the baby passing away, very calmly, some emotions of course but it's a topic we can and do discuss from time to time as they process it. And in that moment, they weren't worrying and panicking, they went to the park with daddy and talked to him and played and were a reassurance for him through it all (I had a weird rupture, the chance of death was on his mind, though he never said that bit specifically to the kids). They completely understood everything after the surgery, my recovery and all those things, in part because they knew what happened. It was important for our family and definitely the right decision for us, but I understand it wouldn't be for everyone, one of my friends is horrified we took them with us to hospital.
  14. Also, I'm sure most of you are mature enough to realise I was using a common phrasing of the word hate, to emphasise complete frustration, rather than a genuine deep emotional hatred for a child.
  15. Well, this went from positive to negative. I'm glad to know that children playing independently is apparently abnormal. Apparently my three kids, ALL of my other mother friends aside from this one, not to mention mine and my husbands younger siblings and all of their friends (we were older-enough to be teens when there were still toddlers at home), plus the kids of friends we had while childless who we observed many times, were all exceptionally abnormal, because I can't imagine a playdate which consists of constant active supervision, and it's definitely not what occurs in any of my social groups. I understand some kids are not neurotypical, that's different and I have endless empathy for those families, I volunteered with a special needs playgroup for awhile as a teen as well as helping a family who adopted and fostered autistic and downs children. I do know the difference. I also understand some kids are particularly difficult no matter what a parent does and when a parent acknowledges that it's a different thing. But in this instance it's definitely a combo of gender issues, the mother being unable to really control a male child, plus an attachment parenting philosophy gone rather extreme to a child-ruling-the-home philosophy, plus a mother not knowing how to instill discipline and being overwhelmed and not sure what to do. I have sympathy for her, she asks my advice, I help and model things where I can, she specifically asks me how I do x and y or how I taught a and b, but then can't follow through herself, she wont say no to them, and then she tries to use discipline but 'timeout' consists of her sitting beside her child for the entire duration, which can easily end up 10 minutes long if the child is refusing to cooperate, and she tries the one, two, three thing but she says it quickly, onetwothree, then does nothing at all afterwards, almost like turning onetwothree into a warning word rather than a meaningful tool. She asks them to clean up, and then does all the cleaning up herself while cheerfully asking them 20 times to join in, it's fostering a situation of them walking all over her, and it's heartbreaking to see. But, it seems many of you expect to spend the entirety of visits chasing kids and offering constant active supervision, so, I guess there's a big cultural difference here between the social circles I'm familiar with and the ones represented here.
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