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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Having an Open Dialogue in the LDS Culture.

Wow.
Hi.
It's been a while, eh?
This blog ebbs and flows with my life and I think that's how it should be.

I had a baby. This is Georgia. She is seven months old and I just love her so much I want to eat her (normal, right? How could you not with that face?). She's the happiest baby ever and brings so much joy to our lives.




Since having Georgia, I have been having so many thoughts about how to raise her and what I want to show her, as a mother.
Because of this, I have a bone to pick with some of the culture that I am involved in.
Me, opinions? Shocking, I know.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. To many of you, we are "Mormons." We have, however, been encouraged to not use this term because we believe in Christ. People seem to forget that we are Christians, but I digress. For the sake of this post, I will be using "LDS culture" to talk about the this particular issue.

Sometimes I fear expressing concern about the LDS culture because we, generally speaking, have a bad reputation. Too many people have misconstrued views and opinions of "my people" and I hate to feed the tiger, if you will. But, on the other hand, because I was raised in a different world that I currently live in (Raised in Oregon. Currently live in Utah), I feel like this discussion needs to be taking place.

*perfect transition here*

Discussions.
I like to talk. I am an introvert, but I enjoy conversing with others about real topics and issues and views (no small talk, please). I love having real relationships with people. It is something I value and that I put time into because it's important to me.
Because I value relationships and friendships, I find it incredibly empowering to have an open dialogue. I have always been an open book when it comes to my views, issues and personality traits. I find that I have nothing to hide and much to share.
But, I, unfortunately, have repeatedly seen too many incidents where people are not HAVING DISCUSSIONS ABOUT DIFFICULT THINGS.

It is hard to talk. Especially about difficult things. It can be awkward to have a discussion with your child, friend, family member, or spouse, but I am a strong believer that if we have an open dialogue in our relationships, so many more issues would be resolved.
I am constantly asking Tanner, "Why are people so scared to just have the conversation?"

I think the LDS culture struggles to have an open dialogue about difficult topics (i.e. sex, LGTBQ issues, racial inequality) for the following reasons:
1. Members don't have the skills to communicate difficult topics without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
2. Members are too emotionally-tied to the situation or "feel too bad." Often people don't want to talk about a situation because they don't want to hurt other people's feelings.
3. Members don't have enough knowledge about the topic and aren't willing to see the other side or perspective and the lack of knowledge just leads to avoidance of discussing the topic at all.

It's not okay.
We need to talk to our children.
We need to talk to each other.
We need to talk!!!!!!!!

Have the discussion. Have the discussion with your child about sex and STI's. Have a discussion about what options there are if they choose to have sex.
Have a discussion with your son about consent and what it look and sounds like.
Have a discussion wiht your child about their testimony. Have a discussion with your child if they WANT to serve a mission. And if they don't, discuss ways to help their testimonies or other options.
Have a discussion with your spouse about your finances.  What are you spending money on? What expectations do you have regarding cost of living, etc.
Have a discussion with your spouse about your sex life. What do each of you like? What are you expectations?
Have a discussion with your child about their future and what goals they want? Do they want to go to a trade school? College? Masters degree.
Have a discussion with your children about having goals. Discuss with your daughters to have hobbies and goals...not just "marry someone rich." Help encourage them to pursue something that they love and to experience LIFE.
Discuss with your children the expectations of cleanliness and what that means.
Discuss with your children and friends about the temple. Guess what, friends? Did you know that you can talk about most of happens in the temple? Share!!! It's not a secret.
We need to have an open dialogue with your friends about motherhood and the wonderful, hard aspects about it.
Have an open dialogue with your friends about politics without getting too emotional or focused on your own personal political agenda.
Have an open dialogue about frustrations! With your career, with your religion, etc.
Have an open dialogue with your friends, parents, spouse, kids, about your emotional well-being.
Have a discussion with your daughters about getting married young and the dangers about that.
Have a discussion with your sons about what it means to be respectful to a woman.
Talk to your kids about body image and to be grateful for what their bodies can do.

And we need to be okay with others talking and struggling.
We need members who are willing to talk about their struggle with attending the temple and the real reasons why they aren't going.
We need members who are willing to talk about their struggle with their testimony because of addiction, mental illness, or just a change of beliefs.
We need members who are willing to talk! 
Because if we aren't willing to be talk and learn to see the other side, we are going to continuously be stuck and not progress.

It takes confidence, studying, and an open mind to have discussions like these. But I truly believe it is imperative and I would genuinely love to see it happening more. In relief society lessons, in homes, and in friendships, etc.

The entire purpose of our religion is to be Christ-like. Christ was not timid. Christ called people out. Christ was kind, but honest. Christ had discussions with people of all variety. That is how we progress, friends.

I want Georgia to grow up in a world where can feel like she can have an open dialogue and communicate what she feels openly. With me. With others.

Go have a difficult discussion today.
I dare you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Georgia Newborn Photos

I can't believe it's already been two weeks with our little girl. Here are her darling newborn photos! 
















Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from us to you! 
Obviously we are so incredibly grateful for our new little girl this year. But, even more than that, we are so grateful for good family and friends, health, our freedom of religion, our jobs, our home, and so much more. 




















Monday, November 19, 2018

Georgia Kay: Birth Story and Meaning of Name

Pregnancy Journey post here 

Georgia Kay 
November 12, 2018 4:05 am 
7 lbs 6 oz and 20.5 inches 




As I look back at these pictures, I am seriously brought to tears. The overwhelming love that happens when you birth a child is truly indescribable. I know the hormones are flowing and the exhaustion is so overwhelming that I feel like I could cry at anything right now (I may or may not have cried when I left to go to Walmart for fifteen minutes on her third day alive!), but these pictures made me even more emotional. 

This birth story went very differently than I imagined it would go. 
It was Sunday night. I was scheduled to be induced on Monday morning at 6 am because baby girl was a week overdue (longest week of my life!). During the weekend, I was getting flu-like symptoms. I was achy, throwing up, nauseated and had diarrhea. 
I was doing research and it said that some people have these signs a few days before labor, so even though I felt terrible, I had a feeling that meant baby was coming soon. I was at family dinner with my family and I was starting to feel some pain. I got home and started to feel contractions. The contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart after about an hour so T and I headed into the hospital around 9:00 pm. Once in the hospital, they monitored me because I was only dilated to a 1 1/2. After monitoring me for an hour and walking around for 45 minutes (through awful contractions), I hadn't made any progress, so they sent me home. I was livid! I was coming back the next morning to get induced!! 
I headed home and, well, you guessed it, my contractions were getting significantly worse. I took a few baths and sat on a yoga ball. I found that I couldn't sit to work through the contractions, though. The best way for me to work through the contractions was standing up and rocking. Even though the contractions were getting worse, I just assumed that I wasn't making enough progress because at the hospital, after two hours, I hadn't. I didn't want to head back to the hospital just to have them send me home again, so I waited it out for a little bit. But, eventually, the contractions were getting so painful and close together (like 1-2 minutes apart), that I was crying and screaming out loud. Before I knew it, my water broke.
So, obviously, we rushed to the hospital. Once I was there and they checked me in, I had dilated to a 7 (almost an 8!!). I had dilated from a 1 1/2 to a 7 in about 3 hours!! So, essentially, I did all of my labor at home without medication and didn't even know it!!! 
Even though I was progressing quick at this point, I was in so much pain, I screamed for an epidural. They gave it to me, but because the epidural takes at least fifteen minutes to kick in, it never really took full effect because in 15-20 minutes I had dilated from a 7 to a 10 and was ready to push in those few minutes!!! I think the epidural took the edge off of pushing a little bit, but it definitely did not really kick in. Ha. 
While pushing, Georgia's heart rate dropped, but because I was so "in the zone", I had no idea. I definitely could feel people pressuring and coercing me to keep pushing, but I truly just tried to listen to my body and push when I felt it. I pushed for about twenty minutes (maybe five pushes) and baby girl was here! 
So, in a nutshell, I arrived at the hospital at 3 am and she was born at 4:05 am. My sisters and mom were in the delivery room and they almost didn't make it! Ha. I basically gave a natural birth, but it was not even on purpose! I truly never expected my labor and delivery to go like that!! 
My recovery has been amazing. I went home to the hospital on Tuesday. I went to the store the day after we got home. I went on my first walk with Georgia! I am so amazed at the entire process. It truly is amazing to look back and see how my body went into gear and just knew what to do. 

Also, I am just grateful she wasn't a 10 pound baby. Haha. Both Tanner and I were big babies and I was a week overdue, so I thought for sure she'd be a chunker. But she was 7 lb 6 oz and most of the weight was in her cheeks :) 

During this time of year and Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for such a healthy labor, delivery and baby. I am constantly amazed at all of the things that could go wrong and I am so grateful for Georgia. We are exhausted and we are still trying to get the hang of things, but it is amazing to see how much T and I love her (I know it's cliche, but I didn't even know this kind of love was possible!). Georgia is loved by so many people. Nurses at the hospital had to kick people out from visiting because all of our family wanted to come and see her and snuggle her! She is beautiful (I may be a bit biased) and is a good eater. 























We named her Georgia Kay for a multitude of reasons. Georgia is my great great grandmother's name and Tanner's great great aunt's name, so it was a family name on both sides. Also, Tanner served his mission in Georgia, so that was just an added bonus. But, even more than that, we just thought the name was cute. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand weird, made up names with horrible spellings. But, I also wanted something a little unique (one where there aren't a million of them!). I felt like Georgia was a good combination--not weird enough for people to be like, "huh?" but unique enough that it felt special. 
Kay is my grandmother's middle name, also my sister's, and my niece who passed away from SIDS middle name. Kay is also Tanner's grandma's middle name and his sister's middle name as well. So the full name had lots of family and special meaning. 
And I feel like it fits her perfectly.