Celebrating the Tired, the Hopeful, and the Dedicated Midwives

Celebrating the Tired, the Hopeful, and the Dedicated Midwives

  "Midwives? What is this, the 1400s? Do I have a feudal master to whom I pay monthly tithes in grain?" To say the least, my husband was unenlightened when it came to childbirth practices. He has since come a long way in a short time, but we were young(er) and stupid(er) back then, and he had never heard of a midwife delivering babies—doctors did that, duh. Optimistically pregnant for the first time, I chose my midwifery practice based on the advice of my friend who was also a midwife. We met in grad school and bonded over cheap beer and stupid men (those bonds last a lifetime, really). "This midwifery practice delivers at Northside. You'll be in good hands there," she reassured me. I knew she wouldn't lead me astray. She had my best interests at heart and knew these women personally. And so, I registered with Atlanta, Georgia's Northside Hospital—or Atlanta's well-known "Baby Factory" that delivers over 18,000 babies each year. If anything...
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You might be a mom if…

You might be a mom if…

Leave a comment on Facebook with the crazy things you've started doing now that you're definitely a mom. Transcript of the video You might be a mom if you've redefined what crazy means after you've since checked off all of the boxes from the list you created before you had kids. You might be a mom if you instantly become suspicious that your children are secretly strangling each other in their room because it is too quiet in your house and there's no such thing as a quiet house anymore. You might be a mom if you've ever used baby wipes instead of makeup removing wipes because hello! They do the same thing, and one is way cheaper than the other. You might be a mom if you haven't thought twice about sticking your hand into a clogged sink to pull out random bits of food because your hands have already seen way worse than anything in a kitchen sink. You might be a mom if...
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Can it ever be enough?

Can it ever be enough?

  I've been there for every moment. Every smile, every laugh, every wobbly step—every everything—and yet it feels like I am still missing out on so much. How is it not enough? I look back at baby pictures taken years ago, and I see that squishy face. I can see hints of who you will become hidden around your smile wrinkles, arm folds, and fuzzy hair.     You and I were different back then. Through the long nights with multiple wake ups, the constant changing of sheets, and endless laundry, I was too mired in the hour-to-hour chaos to reflect on anything meaningful. Back then I couldn't see the sweet, crazy kid you would become. Back then your happy moments were constantly interrupted with fussy ones. Your smiles turned into cries, and I'd quickly have to intervene. It felt like we were on this emotional roller coaster together, but the ride was taking too long. I was tired, and the ride kept on going and...
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When The Exciting Life Feels Normal

When The Exciting Life Feels Normal

  When we first moved to Sweden (five years ago, ahh!), the newness of everything was overwhelming. Every day we jumped into the unknown with glee. It was thrilling to have a clean slate. We could be whoever we wanted to be in this new place. I spent the first few weeks converting everything into measurements that I could understand and then again into USD to get a sense of the cost. Everything felt expensive (it was). But it was okay because this was all new and exciting. Snow on April 1? Not depressing. Let's play! Get incredibly lost while trying to find a particular restaurant only to discover that they are closed on Sundays? It's alright. We'll get pizza from around the corner. Spend hours in line to get a national ID card, fill out forms, and hope that you've done everything correctly in a language you don't understand? Kind of scary, yes, but we're hanging in there. Everything we did felt like a strange but wonderful adventure....
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Contributor Chats With Melissa Uchiyama

Contributor Chats With Melissa Uchiyama

  Contributor Melissa Uchiyama (and her three-month-old daughter, Lana) took time out of their busy day to have a casual chat about life in Japan and the things that she wants to accomplish in the near future. In this podcast (our first ever "podcast"!) we discuss: How language is the key to unlocking all interactions abroad The beauty of quick births Blending cultural traditions Melissa's plans to grow as a writer Her ideas for the future of Knocked Up Abroad How readers can support the Knocked Up Abroad community (hint: leave an Amazon review and then lend/give your book to a friend) Pledge today to support Melissa and the other 25 contributors of Knocked Up Abroad Again on Kickstarter (there's not much time left!) Listen here or on SoundCloud: ...
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I Still Need Him To Need Me

I Still Need Him To Need Me

  I bend down and kiss my five-year-old son good night. I motion to sweep his hair from his eyes when the back of his hand wipes my invisible kiss from his cheek and I catch my breath. This seemingly natural reflex is new—wiping off his mother's kiss—and it was not something I had expected until years down the road. I thought I’d have more time before this milestone. With my kiss, a small token of love, his hand brushed away that moment of tenderness and in its wake planted the seeds for independence. These are the same hands with fingers that curled tightly around mine minutes after he was born. The same hands that I held while helping him stumble-to-walk. The same I now hold while walking to preschool every day. The same hands that cradled my face on an afternoon to hold my gaze with his bright blue eyes and said, "Mama, will you remember these kisses?" as he proceeded to cover...
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Make Your Corner Of The World A Better Place For Our Children

Make Your Corner Of The World A Better Place For Our Children

My mom used to tell me, "Always leave the world a little better than how you found it." That meant everything from picking up litter on the street to being a kind and generous person in daily life. Positive contributions were the measure of a good life. I gaze at the two tiny blonde heads that are watching a cartoon in the living room. I hear my son inform his sister that, "This is the last show, okay?" as he sets a self-imposed TV limit for them both. They have no idea what is happening in the news around the world. They don't know that prayers for love and peace have gone unanswered and that hate and violence are dominating the headlines, hashtags, and hearts worldwide. The innocence of childhood will protect them from those horrific realities for a bit longer. Our job isn't to shield them from the evils of the world but give them the tools and knowledge to combat the...
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I abandoned my family and it was marvelous

I abandoned my family and it was marvelous

I took our only car, and I drove and drove and drove. I drove on roads that I was unfamiliar and pushed on into territory previously unexplored. I rolled down the windows, turned up the music, and let the wind whip my hair mercilessly around my face like I was a teenager with a brand new license. The sun filtered through the trees lining the back roads winding through the Swedish countryside, and I didn't have to give a thought to which child would be carsick in the back seat. I didn't have to answer to anyone. I was driving on my own, away from my responsibilities, if only for a few hours. Self-imposed isolation. A series of critical moments necessary to reconnect with my inner self. Every day I connect, network, and converse with others but why don't I give myself that much attention? What is it that I want? What is it that I want to say? I didn't know...
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A mother’s quilt

A mother’s quilt

I didn't feel the change at first. When I first held my baby, I thought I would know what to do, but I felt the same. The love was overwhelming, but the fulfillment of the massive role of "mother" didn't come right away.   My role as mother slowly became stitched into my soul in pieces like a patchwork quilt. Some stitches caused pain, but others resulted in the most amazing experiences beyond compare. Each and every stitch is placed with love and care. I knew that I was making something unique, and the bittersweet journey would be worthwhile.   The first stitch pierced my heart and broke it into a million pieces—some of which are still healing—when I left behind my 12-week-old son with a stranger when I returned to work. The struggle to produce enough breast milk while pumping at work—a severe ache and tender swelling—the physical difficulty unmatched only by the emotional strain.  The second stitch was ongoing sleep deprivation. The...
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I am your home

I am your home

  My voice is hushed and soft as I sing the lullaby to my two-and-a-half-going-on-ten-year-old daughter that I have sung to her since she was born. I had a lot of time on my hands to memorize the song during all of those hours rocking and nursing her when she was a baby. I've sung other songs to her, of course, but that one was my go-to. My favorite song about us. Singing a song about love and friendship seemed like a better alternative to the redundantly boring Mary Had A Little Lamb.   We used to rock in the oversized faux leather chair that we bought when I was pregnant with my son. That rocking chair has seen many sleepless nights. Many nights rocking babies back and forth held in my arms throughout the dark hours of the morning, night, and who knows when. Time has no meaning when you're upset instead of sleeping.   Today we aren't rocking but the song has the same calming effect.   "You be...
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