Tag Archives: babies

SuperBowl, Commercials, #tweetstorms, and Freedom

Oh, my.

Sometimes, I know I should look the other way, not say anything, and go on with my life.  However, other times I feel like I just have to say something.  This is probably one  of those times that several readers will fall on either side of the fence and think that I should have done one or the other.  My guess is that we will all have opinions.

And that is the truth, isn’t it? We all have opinions.

To be clear: the SuperBowl is one of my favorite holidays.  I prefer it over Valentine’s Day and Halloween because at Super Bowl parties I get to eat good stuff (like chocolate fondue) and I don’t have to dress up like a clown.  I love how it can pull different groups of people together in a competitive spirit.  And I like watching people watch the game. I learn so much.

Of course, the commercials rarely disappoint.

I love what Doritos has done for the past several years with the “Crash the SuperBowl” contest.  All of the Doritos’ commercials shown during Super Bowl spots were originally part of a contest for amateurs to earn their way into a professional commercial spot. Viewers vote on their favorites, and the prizes are amazing.

Last year’s winner was super funny.  Click here to watch it again.

When I saw one of this year’s ads – the one where the dad ate Doritos during an ultrasound – I laughed out loud.  Seriously.  Super cute.  Did you read that? I said, “Super cute.”

All day yesterday, though, I read tweet after tweet and more tweets responding to those first tweets about how the commercial was controversial.

Excuse me? Is this the same commercial I saw?  I am completely baffled by all sides of the controversy.  This was an advertisement, people – a well-developed, entertaining advertisement.  The fact that the wife/mom was annoyed at the crunching sound of Doritos during an ultrasound was hysterical – and almost any woman I know would love for the baby to have that kind of motivation to prompt a quick delivery.

Tomorrow is my son’s 19th birthday (I can’t believe he is that old!).  I found out that I was pregnant with him well into my pregnancy and had to have an ultrasound to determine when he was due.  A year before, I had an ultrasound to check on his sweet older sister.

When I have an ultrasound of an organ, the tech is looking at that organ, right?

When I have an ultrasound of what is growing inside of my uterus, the tech is looking at a baby…albeit one that is not ready to live outside of me at 20 weeks gestation.  This does not have to be a loaded term, and I am so confused as to why it became a #tweetstorm.

I drove for several hours yesterday and watched this play out on Twitter at my various stops along the way.  The only thing that makes any sense to me at all is that agreeing that “the thing on the ultrasound screen” is a baby gives name to “the thing” that some want to be able end its growth – abortion.

Here is the thing: we get upset when we are pushed into a corner.  Right now, all sides of all debates in the political, social, religious, intellectual, etc., arenas are pushing each other into corners because no one is listening to each other.  So – we get upset, we get used to being upset, and then we just start conversations already upset.

And we are not listening…

You say “cells” – I say “baby” – “cells” – “baby” – “cells” – “baby”!

“We’ve got spirit, yes, we do – we’ve got spirit, how about you?”

…we are at a pep rally, and we don’t even like the sport!

Seriously, none of us want to be wrong.  None of us want to drop the ball or be the quarterback who gets sacked.  And we certainly don’t want to lose the game and then have to sit through a press conference just to have the world pick that apart later.  Come on – give the guy a break…he lost a Super Bowl game, and you want him to do a press conference?

I digressed…sorry – that is another post.  The truth is that often our rhetoric comes from a position of being cornered.

None of us wants to be faced with the decision of a pregnancy that puts us in an impossible situation.

None of us wants to be the parents of the girl who has an abortion because she thought we would be angry – or the parents of the boy whose girlfriend has an abortion because he thought we would be angry.

We don’t want these things, yet we play the game as if it were our game to play.  We go out on the field, we line up on the line of scrimmage, and we hope that the other team fumbles so that we can grab the ball, make the play, and dance the victory dance.

All the while, there are real people living real life, making real decisions, and struggling through it all.

We vote for the politician who claims to support our stance on the issue, and then we realize that the Supreme Court holds the cards anyway.  We protest, picket, and plead – each “team” chanting their cheers, slogans, and angles.

Rarely do we listen to each other.  Rarely do we listen to the people who have made decisions in the past about issues or who are faced with them today.

I live in America where opinions are allowed, tolerated, and encouraged. I get to stand on my side of the field, and you get to stand on your side of the field – regardless of whether that side is the same side as mine or not.  Tolerance means that I let you think your way even when I strongly disagree.

Sometimes, our freedom gets away from us, and we get a little carried away. If only there were a flag on the freedom field for taunting…

It is time to start listening.

Several years ago, I taught a high school speech class.  When it came time for students to present persuasion speeches, abortion came up very often.  As I listened to the speeches, I was stunned at the anger with which high school students could already have toward someone who disagreed with them.  I asked them all to take some deep breaths and to reconsider their rhetoric.  Consider what it might be like to have an abortion.  Consider what it might be like to believe that abortion is murder.

For high school students, the answers seemed easy until they had to consider the other side – not the argument but rather the shoes which the person on the other side of the argument wore.  I’m not saying that abortion is a grey issue – what I’m saying is that we become less angry about difficult issues when we start to listen to people who disagree with us.

When we listen to those who disagree with us, we win the game.  We can have firm convictions, attempt to influence legislation, and help to alleviate the suffering of those around us while listening to those who disagree with us.  We might even be able to work together.

Consider what seems to be an odd pairing of pro-life Catholics with Atheists for Life.  They have some fundamental differences; however, they both want to end abortion.  Rather than focusing on that which divides them, they work together on what they hold in common.  My guess is that this required some listening to each other.

As I wrote this post, I watched the “controversial” commercial again a couple of times.  I still do not see it – neither of the possible “its” that the #tweetstorms suggested.

What I did see was that ultrasounds have gotten a whole lot better than they were 19 years ago when I looked at my son for the first time and found out that he would arrive only six months later.

It kind of makes me want to have another baby just to see that cuteness on the screen in this new way.

Hold on.  Strike that.

I’ll wait – some day, maybe I will get to see a grandchild’s ultrasound in color.

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, Relationships, Thoughts

Pregnancy Tests in a Bar?

2012-07-19 15.10.54After being away from Facebook, Twitter, and most forms of the news for a week due to my vacation last week, getting caught up has been a bit of an overwhelming experience.  To go from only the sounds of waves crashing against the rocky shoreline of Rockport, MA, to the noise created inside of my head from all of the information available through social media and beyond has been simply loud. 

There may be no better better word for it.

I scrolled and caught up with the usual – other people’s vacations, the updates about the shooter in Colorado, and pictures of cousins’ babies.

And then my Twitter feed drew my attention to something that I just simply never imagined.

Side note: I have no idea how I started following Babble.com on Twitter.  I am not even sure if I chose to follow the online magazine which was launched in 2006 and was acquired by Disney in 2011.  Twitter seems to decide what I follow or just shows me thinks from people – maybe in a retweet (which is different from any form of “retreat”).  Anyway – they are a black hole of all things parenting … including Disney vacations.

I giggled as I wrote that side not…back to the thoughts…

The tweet: A bar in Minnesota is installing pregnancy test dispensers http://ow.ly/cr1mf

Hold the phone.  Stop the presses.  And sit down for a minute.   Deep breaths…

Pregnancy tests in a bar?  In a Minnesota bar?  A bar in Minnesota has pregnancy tests?

For sale?  In a vending machine?  In a bar?  In Minnesota.  More deep breaths…

I honestly was excited, afraid, interested, shocked, indignant, miffed, and…and…and…

Well, yes, I did click right on over to the link provided; thank you for asking!  And the link provided a great amount of information pertaining to Jody Allen Crowe’s vision to intercede on the behalf of unborn children who may be exposed to alcohol (thus leading to unhealthy brains) because the mother-to-be did not even know she was expecting as she took those drinks.

I further clicked through the Babble.com article to read the Mankato Press article which detailed which bar the test could be found as well as the reasoning behind the tests.  Crowe’s thinking is if a woman suspects she is pregnant and is able to confirm that prior to purchasing her first drink of the night, she may skip the alcohol and save her baby’s brain from damage.

Heart-felt foundation.  Wonderful intentions.  Excellent vision.   But will it work?

Mr Crowe envisions that his $3 pregnancy tests (which he claims are 99% accurate) should be in malls, gyms, and just about anywhere that potential mothers can be found.  And here is where I had to stop and think for a minute.

Is not any woman who has sex a potential mother?

I mean – let’s be honest here – short of surgeries (which are still not 100% effective) there are few ways to be 100% certain having sex does not lead to pregnancy.  In fact, pretty much the only way to completely avoid pregnancy is to avoid sex.  To say otherwise is really not using our brains.  I am not saying that Mr Crowe has said that, but that is where his reasoning leads me to think.  Maybe I am only one who thinks that after reading both articles.

What I am trying to say is that this idea of Mr Crowe’s seems to reduce the responsibility that we need to take for our actions by making pregnancy tests available in places that are easier for us.  For right now, they are available in a bar.  But his vision to increase their availability to places where younger “women” can access them concerns me a bit.  I am not sure that I would want my 16 year old daughter to be able to purchase a pregnancy test in a vending machine at the mall rather than talking to me about her potential pregnancy.  Maybe that is just me.  Maybe that is just me being naïve.

I think what really is nagging at me is why we need to intervene in this way at all.

When Dead Poets’ Society came out in 1989, it seemed that we all needed a punch in the arm and a reminder about carpe diem.  Well, we have been seizing the day ever since and living as if tomorrow will never come.  In fact, the new slogan is you only live once (YOLO) which just adds to the carpe diem effect.

Is this why condom vending machines showed up in various bathrooms right around that time?  So that we could seize the day?

Our young people are pretty good at seizing the day and living as if they only live once, and their music (with songs like We Are Young [which I happen to like as my daughter pointed out as she read this rant] – click here for my post about that) shows that.

If we seize the day with the idea that we only live once, we give little thought to the impact that today’s decisions will have on us tomorrow and on the society in general once we are no longer here.  My husband likes to point out that every action we take or thing that we say has a consequence – negative or positive.  I have re-tooled this idea and think that whatever we do or say has a result.

The problem comes in when we seize the day and act without thinking through all of the possible results.  If we cannot handle the results, we should not act and then hope that none of those results come to be.  And if we thought through this, would we need to have pregnancy tests available in bars, malls, and gyms?

In the end, the problem seems to be here.  The generation that could have turned things around (probably mine) did not.  Instead of trying to help us all think before we act, we have simply gone a step farther and become responsible in our thinking by putting condoms in vending machines and now…pregnancy tests.

Here is something I wonder, though: will having the pregnancy tests in the same vending areas as condoms (as I can only assume they will eventually be) make some people think?

I envision a great series of signs for the machines:

Condoms are not 100% effective, so be sure to pick up a pregnancy test.

Buy one; get one half off.

You get the idea.

In the end, if a pregnancy test helps women choose not to drink because they know they are pregnant, I am all for that.  As an educator, I have seen the impacts of decisions that mothers have made during pregnancy, and I find it very sad.  I am not convinced that most of them were ignorant to the fact that they were pregnant when they chose to drink.  Perhaps there are statistics that support the fact that FASD is caused by women not knowing that they are pregnant when they choose to drink.  That is not my gut feeling.

There could be residual education that comes from all of this.  The machines that dispense the pregnancy tests have a huge sign on them which point out the dangers of drinking while pregnant.  These machines will be such novelties that women will read the signs just to find out what the deal is.  And then information will be passed on that may not have ever been without this.

I have now read and re-read this post, and I think I am going to leave it the way it is – pretty much unorganized, a think out loud (letting my fingers do the talking…), and a struggle with this concept.

I would love to hear other people’s thoughts about whether or not this is a good idea and why.  I know that I am opening up a potential can of worms, but – as I said in a post a few weeks ago – having an opinion can get us into trouble.  I know that.  I really am struggling through my opinions in this to determine what is best from a societal, parental, and educational stand-point; because of that, I would love to hear thoughts…

Thanks for reading this far!

Leave a comment

Filed under Education, health, Relationships

World Prematurity Day

One of the things I love most about Facebook is the ability to reconnect with people from my childhood.  A while back, a woman with whom I attended junior high school requested to be my friend.  I did not recognize her new last name, but I quickly figured it out.  Funny – I did not know that we were friends.  I thought she hated me.  But through the power of growing up and out of the junior selves that we were, we now have connected through Facebook.  I enjoy knowing about her life now.  She shared a link yesterday from the March of Dimes about World Prematurity Day, which is today, and the information about it woke me up this morning with thoughts about premies.  So – kudos to her for sharing the information that is dear to her heart.

Sixteen years ago, I was pregnant with our beautiful daughter who will sing again tonight in Fridley High School’s production of Footloose – the Musical (do you have your tickets??).  In fact, at this time in the calendar sixteen years ago, Kerry and I had flown to the east coast to look at Princeton and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminaries.  I was “great with child,” uncomfortable, and excited about our trip as it included a pre-Thanksgiving meal with my Rhode Island family.  A month later, however, my doctor put me on bed-rest with pre-eclampsia symptoms.  And two months later, on January 24, my doctor said, “We are having this baby today!” because the condition had worsened.  C-sections are a beautiful thing – at least in my experience.  Two hours after my doctor decided that “today was the day,” my daughter and I no longer shared my body, and we had seen how beautiful she was.  To this day, I can see that cute little button nose and small features of our beautiful little girl who has grown from 19″ into a five foot something young woman who sings “Can You Find It in Your Heart” in the musical like an angel.  She has the stage to herself, spotlight just on her, and she is Vi Moore….

My daughter was born at 36 weeks gestation – just at the cut off of being a premie.    Because my doctor had foresight that my condition could become dangerous for both of us, he had given me a shot a few weeks earlier to stimulate her lung growth as that would have been the biggest worry for her early beginning.  Although she was tiny at 5lbs 4oz, she had no struggles right away.  She has had some lung/asthma issues as she has grown up; however, her premie story is much less catastrophic than most premie stories.

I am amazed when I hear about how early of a start some babies get.  I googled “earliest premie baby” and found a story on msnbc.com about a baby who survived being born at just under 22 weeks!  That is amazing!  I am also amazed when I googled “latest weeks to have an abortion in US” – 24 weeks.  I want to be clear that I have a great deal of compassion for the women who have chosen abortion – in part because of this very contradiction in the medical field.  If I want my baby, and she is born at 24 weeks, then we fight for her life.  If I do not want my baby, and I am 24 weeks along, I can choose to abort in some states.  This is so contradictory and confusing!  Now, if I am in a situation of uncertainty because I am in pregnant without really wanting to be pregnant, what do I do?   I have been privileged to walk down a healing journey with several women who have had abortions and have later regretted it.  If someone is reading this blog and needs healing from that past decision, click here to find out information about the Conquerors program.

Sorry – sidelined…

The original thought about premies that woke me up very early this morning is that they are revolutionary as children, teens, and adults.  When I say “revolutionary,” I do not necessarily mean that they are toppling governments, but that is a possibility as well.  In my anecdotal, non-research based observations of life, I have witnessed that those born early, those who had to fight to breath, and those who have experienced this very early struggle in their own lives, grow into compassionate, earth-shattering, and moving young people and adults.

This was true early in our daughter’s life.  She sees life through a different lens.  Perhaps this is hardwired into her personality, but I do not think that is entirely the answer.  I truly believe that there is something about that early struggle in her life that biologically and spiritually impacted her forever.  She feels people’s struggles as well as sees them.  She has an intuition in her that is rare to find.  And she acts on these things.   When she works at Village Creek Bible Camp during the summer, one of her favorite assignments during family camps is to be with families who have a member with special needs – whether adult or child.  She and her lunch table friends have invited a special education student to join them every day at their table.  “If he doesn’t sit with us, he doesn’t have anyone to sit with,” she said when I asked her more about it.   A few weeks ago, they bought him a birthday cake to celebrate.  This boy has issues, according to my daughter, but her table overlooks them.  Instead, they see him as their friend, and they bought him a birthday cake!  What high school girls do this?  Where is the “mean girl” in them?  I bet they all were premies!  🙂

Not all premies make it.  Not all premies can lead independent lives.  Some require constant care for the rest of their lives.  Regardless of whether they are movers and shakers or need constant care and regardless at which week in gestation that they are born, they are babies.  They are precious, and they deserve a fighting chance…a chance to become fighters regardless of their desperate and difficult beginnings.  Thank God for the technological advancements that had been made so that our daughter could have a shot and avoid the NICU in her early life.  Thank God for NICUs, though, for those who need some extra time and care to get their lives started.  And thank God for the March of Dimes who champion the cause of premies around the world!


Filed under Uncategorized