Being Brave in the Hard Seasons

My baby turned five today.  It’s really hard for me to write “my baby” because he truly is my baby.  I always thought there’d be one more.  I mean, we tried three times for one more, even though two of the conceptions were definitely not planned.  Three times I faced heartbreak chasing a dream.  The plan was always four babies.  That was always the dream.  Who’d have thought getting the fourth one here would be the hardest?

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Tomorrow we turn a page.  Tomorrow we close a chapter.  Tomorrow there’s no going back.  This was also the plan.  We agreed that this time was the last- no matter the outcome.  We agreed that whether Scarlett Mae made it here or not, there would be no more tries.  I know it’s the right choice.  I know if we don’t do this, if we don’t make it permanent, in a year, I’ll want to try again.  I know I emotionally cannot handle another pregnancy, especially if the outcome is the same as the last three.  I’m barely surviving this one.  Sometimes being brave means facing the truth, no matter how devastating that truth is.  Sometimes being brave means admitting hard things to yourself.  Sometimes being brave means doing something that hurts your heart.  Sometimes being brave means doing something that feels like you’re being ripped apart on the inside.

This has not been an easy season for me.  In fact, this has hands-down been the hardest season of my life.  I faced the loss of my second daughter.  I left a job I loved to go to a different job because it’s better for my family right now.  Don’t get me wrong, my current job is a huge blessing and the best way to serve my family and others right now.  It’s one I truly enjoy, but the job I left fueled my soul in ways I never imagined it would.  I went back to working full time, losing cherished time with my boys.  And now I’m saying a permanent goodbye to ever having another babe grow in my belly.  A permanent goodbye to ever feeling first kicks and the adrenaline of finally seeing the baby you’ve grown for the last nine months.  I wish I was like those women who can say with absolute certainty that they are done with kids, who adamantly don’t want another child.  I’m not like them.  I will forever long for one more, for the one that could have been.  Sometimes being brave is allowing dreams to die.

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Mourning dreams that have died is the bravest thing I have ever done.  Turning this page tomorrow, laying a dream to rest, will forever be one of the hardest things I have ever had the courage to do.  I know deep down that allowing these dreams to die will allow for Jesus to plant and grow new dreams in my heart.  In a way, it’ll be freeing to know that a choice has been made and that there is no going back.  But willingly laying down a dream?  It’s the bravest thing you’ll ever do.

In your hardest seasons of life, I’m a firm believer you are your bravest.  You’re brave when you get through another day without the one you lost.  You’re brave when you put one foot in front of the other when you just want to stay curled up under the covers.  You’re brave when you walk a path you never imagined you’d be walking.  You’re brave because life is still happening around you.  You’re brave because the world has continued on and so must you.  You’re brave because your family needs you to be.  You’re brave because you don’t have a choice not to be.

Why We Chose to Find Out Gender Early

This is one of those posts that I feel like needs to prefaced.  To me, it’s similar to breast-feeding vs. bottle-feeding or co-sleeping vs. not co-sleeping.  People tend to be very passionate about one view or the other, and people can get easily riled up.  So, let’s say right now- I believe with all that I am that what you do for your family is perfect FOR YOU.  Whether you breast-feed, bottle-feed, co-sleep, don’t co-sleep, stay home with your babies, work outside the home, cloth diaper, disposable diaper, home school, public school, YOU DO YOU!  Are your babies fed, clothed (well most of the time in my boys’ case!), and loved?  Then you’re doing amazing, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But the thing with topics like these is that some people get so passionate, they don’t actually let themselves think about why someone chose differently.  Maybe that bottle-feeding Mama can’t breastfeed, and it hurts her heart.  Maybe that Mama works outside the home because she’s a better Mama and more present with her Babies when she gets the break and does something that fuels her heart.  The point is, you don’t know.

We found out what this baby is going to be.  Not only that, we paid for an Early Detection DNA gender test to find out even earlier.  We don’t qualify for the NIPT genetic test at the doctor because, while I’m considered high-risk for pre-term labor and have had multiple miscarriages including a second-trimester one, I’m not considered genetically high-risk.  I’m also not yet over the age of 35, therefore, our insurance won’t cover the test.  So we could wait until the 20 week anatomy ultrasound or we could pay $59 (with a coupon) to do an at home blood test that is processed by an independent lab.

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Why not just wait for the ultrasound?  Or even better, why not just wait until the baby is born?  We’ve done both those options, my Friends.  With our first born, we didn’t find out.  He was the present we got at the end of 33 weeks (because he came early) and found out he was a boy.  I will admit the adrenaline of finding out “it’s a boy” seconds after giving birth is simply amazing!  Then with our next two boys, we found out at their ultrasounds because this crazy-organized Mama wanted to be prepared and settled when Baby arrived.  Both ways were fun and beautiful and special.  But here’s the thing:  three of my babies have never been born.  Two of my babies never even made it to a point of me being able to find out if they were a boy or girl.  One baby I only found out because my husband and I drove 100 miles to a private ultrasound clinic at 16 weeks.

I could give you a million and ten reasons of why I wanted to find out.  We’re having a rummage sale, and I want to know if I can sell our oodles of boy clothes or need to hang on to them.  I want to go out and find amazing rummage sale deals if it is a girl because one baby doesn’t need tons of brand new clothes that she’ll outgrow in a few months with no one to pass them down to (because yes, this is the last one, no matter the outcome).  I want to know how to decorate the room because a Christmas baby comes at an already chaotic time of the year, and I want everything ready to go so I can just enjoy the holidays with my family.

But the real fact of the matter is, I want to know for me,  and to be quite frank, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or feels about it.  I didn’t feel connected to my first-born until he’d been in the world almost a month.  His NICU stay didn’t help matters.  It’s hard to bond through an incubator.  Knowing with my next two boys gave me a way to make a connection.  Being able to call baby a him and a he and by their names was a huge help to my mental well-being.  Knowing Clara was a girl helped me grieve that sweet little life.  Naming her, buying pink things in her memory, talking about her to my boys- all these things have helped me process and handle her loss.

If you read my last blog post, you know that for the first 8 weeks of this pregnancy, I was completely detached.  I didn’t think about this baby.  I didn’t want to see this baby.  I didn’t entertain the idea of the baby making it here, and it was driving me to the brink of depression.  I needed to know for my own mental well-being.  I needed to know because if something does happen, I want to know if that baby is a boy or a girl.  I needed to know because I want to pray for this baby by name.  I want to say he or she.  I want to envision all that life will be with this baby.  I want to celebrate every tiny detail of this baby because the truth is, as we learned a year ago, it’s not guaranteed I’ll get to know this baby this side of heaven.

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Yesterday we found out this baby is a GIRL!  Wyatt was beyond excited for a little sister!  We may wait for confirmation in a few weeks via ultrasound before I start selling all the boy things because there’s always a little room for error with home-based tests; and if it’s wrong, we’ll be just as thrilled with another Little Man for our house full of crazy (and it’ll be a really funny story!).  I’ve felt this little love was a girl from the beginning though.  My pregnancy has been identical to Clara’s, and 100% different from the boys.  Like I said above, we’re celebrating every little thing we learn about this baby.  I’m certain this little girl will be perfect in every way.  Her name is Scarlett Mae.  Yep, we’re even sharing her name early this time because if you think of us and know our story, we’d love for you to pray for her by name.  

So you do you, Friend!  Whether you wait to find out what your bundle of joy is or find out early, I trust you’re doing what’s right for you and your family and your mental well-being.  There’s no judgment here, and I’ll celebrate that Little Life with you with all the love and excitement that comes with a new baby.

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**If you’re curious, we used the Sneak Peek Early Gender DNA Test.  I tested at 10 weeks 1 Day.  I’ll be sure to come back and update this post once we confirm if it was correct or not 🙂

 

 

The Truth About Rainbow Babies

April 27, 2018-  a day I was broken as I went into surgery with Sweet Clara and came out alone, feeling empty and longing for that Baby Girl I’d never meet this side of heaven.

April 27, 2019-  a day of panic and hope as the test came up positive and I uttered the words “Well that is terrifying.”

And that’s the truth about Rainbow Babies- they are absolutely terrifying.

In the months that followed our loss of Clara, we were trying for one more baby.  Maybe it was part of the healing process or maybe we were clinging to the memory of our Little Girl, but month after month was a disappointment.  In November we decided enough was enough.  I was having other health issues not being able to retain iron, so we stopped trying and started preventing, both of us agreeing that our family of five was perfect the way it was.  Truth be told though, there was always a part of me each month that held my breath until I knew I wasn’t pregnant because Rainbow Babies are terrifying.

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When the one year anniversary of our loss of Clara rolled around, we had figured out my health issues, I’d started a new job, all the boys were almost in school full-time.  We were truly at a place to move on from babies.  But as the memories popped up on my Facebook timeline, not all of them were bad.  Not all of them were painful.  The pictures of me at 14 weeks when I was absolutely glowing, seeing Clara move on the ultrasound screen during numerous prenatal visits- those memories made me smile.  The thing was, the fix to my iron retention issues meant ending the possibility of more babies for good.  So we made a choice not necessarily to try, but to not prevent anything until July when some of our insurance changed.  Then I would make the appointment.  Except that at the end of April, the test said pregnant, and the feelings and emotions that have followed have been a roller coaster (complete with nausea) because Rainbow Babies are terrifying.

It used to be when you heard the baby’s heartbeat or saw the baby on the ultrasound screen, you let out a huge sigh of relief.  The baby was fine!  It was going to make it!  That used to be me.  Our first two miscarriages were early (6 weeks and 4 weeks).  At 6 weeks, I’d feel a slight weight lift off my shoulders.  At 9 weeks, the anxiety would ease.  When I’d hear that beautiful heartbeat for the first time, I’d finally release the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding.  But with Clara, I’d seen her moving, seen her heartbeat, watched her suck her thumb just a week before her heart stopped beating.  I’ve seen this Baby’s heartbeat twice.  I’ve seen how it’s grown in a mere two weeks.  I’ve heard that fast galloping sound of 167 beats/minute.  Mamas who’ve experienced such great loss, you know it does nothing.  You’re already thinking ahead to the next appointment, wondering if that heartbeat will still be there in two weeks or four weeks.  (And the thought of our 16 week appointment gives me such anxiety, it could knock me to my knees.).  Rainbow Babies are terrifying.

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During the first several weeks of the pregnancy, I’ve been super detached.  I had zero desire to see this baby on an ultrasound screen because that would make it more real.  It’s a defense mechanism, a safe-guard for the pain you’ve already experienced.  Pain that you’re terrified of experiencing again.  There was no talk of when this Baby arrives because, to be quite frank, I was already preparing for the loss.  Every ache, every cramp, every time I didn’t feel pregnant, I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Fear and anxiety ruled my world because completing this first trimester means nothing anymore.  I saw my OB for the first time at a little over 8 weeks.  He came into the room and said, “Hey, how are you?”  Y’all, I lost it.  “I’m terrified!” and tears rolled down my cheeks.  That was the first time I’d actually let those feelings flow to the surface.  Sure, I’d said them to people.  This baby wasn’t exactly a secret, but we weren’t shouting it from the rooftops either.  When we’d tell people, they’d say “congratulations!” and I’d respond with “we’ll see.”  My OB is amazing, by the way.  He calmly let me collect myself and in the most gentle way possible told me I likely wouldn’t breathe easy until 20 weeks.  (Let’s be real though, I won’t breathe that sigh of relief until I’m holding this baby in my arms.)  It’s hard to find a heartbeat at 8 weeks with a Doppler, but he told me he wasn’t letting me leave until we saw the heartbeat.  He held true to his word.  Friends, I’m sure it was only 30-45 seconds, but it felt like 5 minutes until he finally said “There it is!” and let me hear it through the ultrasound machine.  During those 45 seconds, I was already mentally preparing myself for him to say the worst…because Rainbow Babies are terrifying.

Here’s the thing though- I left that appointment and came home to my boys (one of whom is a Rainbow Baby).  I sat out in the backyard and watched them play.  I was also watching an adorable one-year-old that week, and he was exploring all the things with the wide-eyed wonder of a toddler.  Side note- that one-year-old Little Love is also a Rainbow Baby.  As I sat in the grass, I contemplated the events of the day.  Finally letting the tears flow at the doctor’s office (that was only slightly embarrassing but I mean, he’d seen me at my absolute worst so this was nothing, right?) and realizing just how much my fear and anxiety were affecting me.  I was on the brink of depression.  Maybe I was already there.  Why does anything get to have that much power over me?  When those words entered my mind, I knew they weren’t mine.  Our God is so good.  He has carried me through the worst of times.  He daily provides for our family.  I’ve seen him work miracles in the smallest details of our lives!  How could I not trust Him with this?  Because as terrifying as Rainbow Babies are, my God is stronger.

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I will be 10 weeks tomorrow.  Don’t get me wrong, fear and anxiety still get the better of me some days.  But I’ve started making little changes.  Instead of saying ‘if this baby makes it here’, I consciously make myself say ‘when this baby makes it here’.  I bought a maternity shirt that I won’t be able to wear for several more weeks.  I wonder if it’ll be a boy or a girl.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.  I don’t want my boys to watch me go through this pregnancy cold and depressed and full of negativity.  I want them to see me walk this journey with my eyes fixed on Jesus, trusting that whether I hold this baby in December or when I get to heaven, my God has got this.  For nearly 9 weeks, I didn’t allow myself to think about if this baby makes it here.  But slowly I’ve started letting myself entertain the idea of days with one more Little Love in the house, and those days look pretty dang beautiful.  Because the real truth is Rainbow Babies are miracles.  Rainbow Babies are light.  Rainbow babies are worth every ounce of fear.  Rainbow Babies are strength.  Rainbow Babies are hope.

The Roehrich Family Savings Plan Road Map

I’ve gotten so many requests to write a blog post about this.  Numerous people have messaged me asking what we’re doing or for details on our Savings Road Map.  So here we go, I’ll go into all the details below BUT I have to say up front, what we’re doing is nothing new.  It’s a tried and true and a time-tested, fail-safe way of getting out of debt.  Are you ready for it?!  We work incredibly hard to live within our means.  That’s the secret.  I know it’s a shocker, and you may be saying “that’s it?” but, Friend, let me tell you:  it is one of the hardest things I do on a daily basis.  Like anything worth having (a healthy lifestyle, an amazing marriage, etc)- there is no magic formula.  It requires hard work and dedication on a daily basis.

We are BIG Dave Ramsey fans.  I mean, I’ve read all his books.  We’ve done Financial Peace University at our church.  I’ve even contemplated leading our own course for accountability at some points.  I actually discovered Dave Ramsey when I was working at a law firm.  One of my main responsibilities was preparing and filing bankruptcy paperwork for clients.  When you file bankruptcy, before your case can be discharged from bankruptcy court, you are required to complete a Financial Management Course so that hopefully you don’t end up back where you started in the next eight years.  We constantly got information from different companies wanting us to plug their courses and recommend them to our clients.  Then Dave Ramsey’s course crossed my desk.  Why I took the time to look into his course, I don’t know.  Normally the pamphlets were just put in a Resources folder for later, but God had much different plans.

Now this isn’t a plug for Dave Ramsey (although he’s amazing and I think everyone should take the course or at the very least, read his book), but it’s important because it started us on this journey.  I feel like at this point, I need to make one more caveat-  we are NOT financial experts.  Staying on track is extremely hard.  The first time we did Financial Peace University (FPU), we killed it.  All of our credit card debt got paid off.  We were saving money left and right.  We only had one child, and we were on a roll.  Then life happened, more kids were added to the mix.  We got lazy with our intensity, let instant gratification take over, and one thing led to another.  How I wish we’d been smarter with some of our finances the last few years!  How I wish we’d been more diligent with our budget when our income was substantially higher!  But I think we all have those wishes, right?  I mean, I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re likely looking for a way to save money and get out of debt.  The point is, I’m right there with you, Sister (or Brother for my dude-friends).  The point is, we’ve made mistakes, even after completing FPU.  The bigger point is, we got back up.  We’re still fighting.  We’re still chasing our debt-free dream.  And if that’s you right now, if you’re feeling awful about how you’ve handled your money in the past, then I’m reaching out to you right now, pulling you up off the ground, telling you to dust off your big-kid britches and run towards that goal with all that you are!

Ok, pep talk- check.  Let’s do this!  The very first thing you need to do is get a budget set in place.  I’m a crazy Excel nerd so I actually have a spreadsheet with formulas and bells and whistles, but if that’s not you, don’t make it harder than it needs to be!  You do you, Boo!  Write it out on a piece of notebook paper, but write it all down!  It needs to include:  all your sources of income and all your monthly expenses.  I’m not going to go into intricate details on budgeting here.  (If you all really want to know how I write our budget, feel free to reach out!)  A couple things I suggest adding to your budget though that likely aren’t already in there-  a Christmas fund (because y’all, that happens every year!  Put a little bit away each month all year long so that you don’t go into debt when it happens!), fun money (which I recommend taking out in cash) and a small misc category (for the unexpected doctor co-pay, school club money, etc.).

When we decided to get super serious about paying off our debt again at the end of last year, Greg and I were ready to make the changes.  We went through our budget.  Anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary was cut out, and we began working on our debt snowball again.  We already had a small emergency fund in place for the unexpected, so we didn’t need to worry about that at the time.  Next step, getting the kids onboard.  Now, we don’t buy our kids everything they want.  (In fact, they earn allowance and if they don’t do their share around the house, they don’t get their money…you know, like real life.)  But they were used to getting to go out to eat on a regular basis or getting ice cream or going to the movies.  And then an amazing friend of mine (and fellow Dave Ramsey lover) shared the brilliant thing she was doing with her family-  the Savings Plan Road Map!

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As much I love the Debt Snowball of Dave Ramsey…Friends, it can get tiring.  You’re on fire and you go, go, go! and then…it feels like it’s taking forever.  So we break it down a little more.  We celebrate every $1,000 we pay off.  This also helps keep the kids onboard too!  Note that this $1,000 is principal only!  It does not include the accrued interest every month!  This is where the Road Map comes in.  Our road map includes paying off all of our debt (other than our house) and an emergency fund that would cover four months of expenses if something should happen.  So yes, it’s huge.  Yes, it’s a lot of money.  But, it’s also very, very possible!  Each space is $1,000 and when we reach it, the boys get to pick out a small celebration prize.  This could be going out for ice cream, going swimming at the local community center or a trip to Sky Zone.  We try to keep the cost of the celebration under $50.  This visual reminder is perfect for our kids!  “Mom, can we get Happy Meals for dinner?”  “Remember how we’re working towards our next goal on our road map?  If we get Happy Meals today, it’ll take us longer to get there, but when we hit our next goal, maybe Happy Meals can be our celebration prize!”  (Please note, when I say this, I’m also mentally praying that McDonald’s is NOT the prize they pick!)  The last time we hit our goal, the boys chose to go bowling.

We have these little celebrations along the way, but we also celebrate big time when we pay off a debt!  When we actually pay off something on our debt snowball, the boys get to pick a bigger prize!  This might be a night at a hotel swimming or going on a weekend trip somewhere or going to the big waterpark in the summer.  The point is- celebrate ALL the victories!  The big and the small!  Or you’ll quickly lose momentum.

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Here’s the other, perhaps more important, thing about including our boys on this mission:  they are learning the value of money, service and hard work.  They are watching their parents save for the things we want instead of just going out and buying on credit.  They are watching their parents persevere in the midst of frustration.  They are watching their parents work hard, pick-up extra hours here and there or a side job every now and then to bring in a little extra money.  They are learning how to manage money and be good stewards with it just by participating in this adventure.  They are learning that when you create a situation you no longer like in your life, it’s your responsibility to get out of it, not anyone else’s.  They are watching as we pray when something comes up we weren’t expecting and seeing God provide just as He promised.  Yes, we’re working on becoming debt-free so we aren’t slaves to the lender and have financial freedom, but the journey will bring about so much more than that!

Some last minute tips and tricks I’ve found that have helped immensely when it comes to staying on track with our budget:

  1.  As I mentioned above, start a Christmas fund right now!  Figure out how much you usually spend at Christmas time on gifts, baking, etc.  Divide it by the number of months left in the year, and start putting that much aside each month!  Is the number too high that you can’t afford to set aside that much?  Guess what- you won’t be able to afford it at Christmas time either.  So maybe this Christmas, things need to be scaled back a little bit.  (The fund method also works for any annual expenses-  car registrations, vet appointments, dental cleanings, etc.)  Our Christmas fund also has birthday gifts/parties figured into the amount so we’re ready for those special days too.
  2. Utilize a Grocery Pick-up service.  This has been huge for us in keeping our grocery budget in check!  By ordering my groceries online, I can see my total before I get to the check-out.  If it’s too high, I can go through my cart and take out things that can wait until next week.  By picking-up, I don’t go into the store so I’m not tempted to purchase things not on the list or in the budget that week!
  3. Fun money.  Friends, you need to have some sort of fun money worked into your  budget.  Here’s what happens if you don’t-  you’re working hard, throwing money at debt like it’s going to get you backstage passes to Justin Timberlake, and then something comes along that stalls your progress.  Medical bills show up that have to take some of the money meant for debt.  Your kid grows two sizes in a month and needs new clothes you weren’t ready to purchase yet.  Your hours get cut back at work and your monthly income decreases.  Something will happen, you’ll get resentful because you haven’t had any extra money to go to a new movie or buy a bottle of wine…and then you blow a crap ton of money on something frivolous and end up in an even worse situation.  Work fun money into your budget!  Greg and I alternate fun money.  One week, he gets $25.  The next week, I get $25.  That’s our money to spend on whatever we’d like.  When it’s gone, it’s gone (that’s why I recommend getting it in cash).
  4. Hang your road map in a place where you and your kids will see it every day!  This keeps it at the forefront of everyone’s mind and is a daily reminder of what you’re working towards.

These are the basics, Friends.  I could go into so much more detail on so many things, but then this blog post would become a novel.  If you have specific questions about anything- our budget, how we handle allowance for our kids, etc., please don’t hesitate to reach out!  If we get enough questions about a specific thing, I can definitely look into making another post about it!

Until then, welcome to the journey, my Friend!  It’s hard and long and harrowing.  It requires grit and perseverance and determination.  But you’ve got this!  I know you can do it!  You know the destination is worth it!  If you need a pep talk, hit me up!  If you need accountability, let me know!  From one financial freedom pursuer to another-  don’t give up!  There’s a literal pot of gold at the end of this rainbow.

Parenting in the Gray Areas

Parenting is hard.

Let me say it again.  Parenting is HARD.  I always read these cute memes and things that say something along the lines of “God made the first child easy-going so parents would have more kids and then the second child is a no-limits wild child.”  That is not the case for me, Friends.  My first one came six weeks early and has never slowed down.

Our oldest has climbed six foot privacy fences, fallen from our deck railing by trying to balance walk across it and of the six baby teeth he’s lost?  Three of them were pulled by the dentist because he knocked them loose doing some antic.  He moves constantly, everything is a weapon and even if he’s reading, he needs to be doing something with his hands or feet.  You get the picture.

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As my oldest gets older, he does all the firsts for me.  First steps.  First kid in a booster versus a five-point harness carseat.  First kid to go off to school.  First kid to read me a book.  First kid to loose baby teeth.  And as we’re venturing into this unknown territory of “big kid-ness,” I thought it’d get easier…but it doesn’t.  The challenges just change; and because we’re being honest here, the challenges get harder.  (Don’t worry though- you’re no longer sleep deprived so you have more energy to handle the harder challenges.  Haha!)  Instead of the big issues being the temper tantrum over the blue bowl because he wanted a green one or why he isn’t sleeping through the night, it becomes things like when do you have “the talk” with your child in a world where kids are becoming sexually active younger and younger?  Or when do you allow your child to run to the public restroom by himself when you’re in Target?  Or when do you let him start using a steak knife to cut his own meat? (Because y’all, my wild child with a steak knife gives me anxiety just thinking about it!)  He’s entered this stage of development of seeing the world in black and white.  Everything is either right or wrong.  There is no gray area, and it can be so trying at times to explain the world isn’t black and white but full of color.

We’re at one of those hard places right now.  We’re in one of those gray areas.  Our oldest has been struggling to focus at school.  He’s always had active tendencies.  This isn’t new to us.  His phenomenal teacher has been extraordinary in helping him find different ways to try and help him stay on task.  He’s allowed to stand while he does his work.  He’s allowed to fidget and move and be a boy.  But while we have loads of tools in our toolbox for sensory processing disorder, nothing seems to be working any more.  If you know me at all, you know I’m a natural, holistic, fix-the-underlying-problem type of person.  We have done diet changes, supplements, occupational and behavioral therapy.  But what if the underlying problem is something medication is needed for?  And here is where we currently find ourselves.  Because while I believe ADHD is wildly over-diagnosed in our country and boys need to be allowed to be boys in all their wild glory, I also know ADHD is a very real psychological disorder.  I don’t want to be the parent who refuses to believe my child just might have that chemical imbalance that makes it hard to focus.  I don’t want to do a disservice to him but making my preferred last resort his too.  I don’t want him to become so frustrated with school that he develops anxiety or hates school or becomes depressed.

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When our babies are struggling, it becomes all consuming.  You research all the things.  You talk to all the people- the teacher, the aides, the doctor, the naturopath, friends who’ve been there.  You feel so helpless when your child is crying because he can’t focus on his math he’s been trying to complete for the last 45 minutes and begins telling you how “bad he is at everything.”  You feel like you’re failing (honesty here, remember?).  And so we pray over our Babies without ceasing.  We ask for guidance and wisdom, and we hope in the long run, we made the right choices.  We set aside worries about judgments and what others will say or think.  We brush aside opinions not asked for and do what’s best for your child.  Because isn’t that what we’re all trying to do in the end?

I don’t know if he has ADHD.  I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing.  I don’t know if we’ve been doing the right thing.  I do know we’re doing the best we can.  I do know we are exploring and will continue to explore all possible ways to help him.  I do know no one will advocate for him as much as his father and I will.  I do know that in all the gray areas of life, we’ll do whatever we can to make his world as colorful as possible.