2.27.2012

Popping in again

So there have been thousands of posts swirling around in my head (ahem: Lucy-the-cat, Clara-the-nannykid, school project, LIFE) but I've yet to sit down and write them. Cause there's one thing I've been wanting to get out first.

Here it is, yo:

I want to start having children. Soon.

Now, before my mother and father pass out, I don't mean YET. I just mean SOON.

I'm (almost) 23. I graduate from college in May (72 days or so, not that I'm counting). I know what I want to do with my life, and I'm on my way to doing those things. But the thing I want to do most? Is to become a mother.

No, I don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/husband/wife/spouse/"roommate." But I DO have a small community of women in my life who want to be young mothers just like me. We want to have our children and raise our children, together, regardless of whether or not we have spouses.

I don't have big, high-shooting, lofty career goals. I want to catch babies, teach breastfeeding classes, and offer support in any way I can to new moms of every age. I'm on my way to becoming doula certified, and am making preparations to become a certified lactation consultant. A midwifery program will, eventually, follow that.

But in the meantime, I want to start my family. I want to raise my children in a warm, loving, nurturing environment with my grown friends and their own children. It takes a village to raise a child — well, I want to be a part of a village. I want a village of mamas and daddies and children everywhere. With plenty of love to go around, no matter who you are.

My children will not lack for strong parental figures in their lives. Cait, my best friend, will be like my kids' second mom and someone who I know will love my children as her own. My sister is an amazing, amazing girl — my kids will have the best aunt in the world. My parents are incredible, and I honestly can't wait to see them as grandparents. If I don't ever get married, that's fine by me.

The thing is? We can do this. We can do this, and soon. I'll be able to work as a doula and an LC while staying home with my kids. All of us want to work in women's health/childbirth — if one of us needs to leave for a birth, other mamas and daddies would be there to stand in. We'll all work together and support each other.

It takes a village to raise a child, and I want to raise my children in a village. Sooner, rather than later.

2.05.2012

Happy birthday Cait!

Disclaimer: Cait totally thought I was going to edit a lot out of this video.

Surprise: I'M NOT EDITING ANYTHING!

Happy birthday Cait! And welcome to the family, Lucy-goosey :)

2.03.2012

My best friend

So.

A few years ago, my best friend, Cait, was diagnosed with manic depression (also known as bipolar disorder). Prior to knowing her, I didn’t know much about manic depression. I assumed (incorrectly) that it meant that a person was just hyper-depressed. Or just mentally unstable. Which, in my mind, was a polite way of saying they were just kind of crazy.

I was really, really wrong.

People who are manic depressive experience periods of mania, during which they are flying high, productive, creative, unstoppable…followed by equally severe periods of all-consuming, all-encompassing, paralyzing, debilitating depression. With medication and therapy, these episodes can be lessened, but they’ll never truly go away.

Cait's really been struggling lately with her bipolar disorder. Her moods have been fluctuating wildly and unpredictably, and she (and her doctors) are trying to find the right medicine combinations to better get them under control.

But it's been hard.

I can walk into a room and feel if Cait's crushed with depression. Similarly, I can tell just by looking at her if she's hypomanic. Depending on her moods, I tiptoe carefully around her, or curl up next to her. Once, during an incredibly awful period back in November, I had to physically lift her out of bed — she couldn't get out on her own. And one night, she took a really long shower, and when I went to check on her, I found her curled on the bottom of the bathtub, water raining over her. She couldn't get out. She just couldn't. I pulled the curtain aside, hooked my arms under hers, and pulled her up.

There are also times where she's flying so high she can't stop talking. She talks at lightning speed, jumping from one topic to another. Sometimes she can't sit still, she has to get out of wherever she is — like tonight. Sometimes she has the urge to do potentially harmful and dangerous things. Most of the time, she resists. Sometimes she doesn't.

My best friend has manic depression. But that doesn’t mean she’s crazy. Yes, she goes through period of mania (which is a word with enormously weighted negative associations). Yes, she goes through periods of depression. But she’s also empathetic, loyal, intelligent, and a brilliant writer and photographer. And she produces incredible work because of, and not in spite of, her manic depression.

Sometimes being best friends with Cait feels like I'm on a roller coaster. She goes so high, and I try to fly with her, and then she crashes, and I sink too. It's hard. But it's a part of who she is. Just like I have complete anxiety-ridden breakdowns from time to time (okay, let's be honest, pretty frequently). That, and my own depression, are part of me. And Cait loves me and takes care of me regardless.

That's what we do. We take care of each other, no matter what. My best friend has manic depression, and she's struggling. It's been really hard. But I'd never for one second consider not being by her side.

(FYI — I asked Cait before I posted this. She graciously was completely supportive of my need to just write this out.)