Watch Something Progressive

Have you watched a kids’ show lately? Maybe if you don’t have children, you haven’t seen one since you were a kid.

My kids watch Sesame Street on a daily basis. I remember watching it when I was growing up and liking it. Now? I seriously love it.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’m an adult and more aware or that our country suddenly has a serious number of issues that have been brought to light. I’m finding that kids’ shows are more progressive that our actual world seems to be.

Before everything got kind of crappy, I would have been proud that Sesame Street showed episodes about the Indian culture. Now I’m relieved. They also have episodes about other cultures (such as Chinese New Year and a South African exchange student), bullying, autism, and just liking yourself as you are. It’s amazing. They are teaching my kids (and myself) so many positive things that sometimes, I wonder if we are actually in this time frame where people are acting as regressive as they are.

The other 2 shows that my kids have been watching lately are Doc McStuffins and PJ Masks. While it hasn’t come up in the few episodes I’ve watched, both shows star children of different backgrounds doing awesome things. I especially love that my little girl is watching Doc McStuffins because I love the idea that she has a role model that plays doctor and isn’t just into a bunch of princesses.

I feel like there are plenty of adults that need a good dose of some of these children’s shows. They have fantastic messages and teach you a lot about the world. You can stream Sesame Street on HBO, Doc Mcstuffins on Hulu, and PJ Masks on Netflix. Take some time out of your day and learn something new.

Being Creative

Almost every Indian can tell you that when you were growing up, you were encouraged to find a career in something stable. The idea was that if you were a doctor, engineer, or accountant, you wouldn’t have to struggle in your life. You were set and financially stable. It makes sense for that message to be passed down. A lot of our parents left their homes to find that stable, successful career. They gave up a lot to make sure their children wouldn’t ever feel like they couldn’t have everything.

But what about that creative side of us? What about those of us who are writers, dancers, artists, and musicians? Do we lock that side of us away?

And what about our souls? If all we do is focus on our left brain jobs, then what happens to our right brain?

I once had a job interview for an accounting position with a company. When I was offered the opportunity to ask the interviewer (who would have been my boss) questions, I asked her what she likes to do in her spare time. I asked her if she had any activities that she was passionate about outside of work. She actually said that she just did accounting and nothing else. Seriously??? I knew right then and there that this wasn’t the place for me. My previous boss supported my passion for dance and the show that we organized. She knew how much it meant to me and that it was good for me emotionally and mentally. Would this new boss have supported this part of me?

I’ve found that if I ignore my creative side for a little bit, it does affect me. There’s a happiness, a positive energy that comes out when I do use my creativity. I need it to balance out the rational, logical side of me. I do thrive on schedules and lists but I need the free-flowing side to make me whole. I’ve found that to be a consistent trait in the people I know. They have their stable jobs and then they are creative on the side. They get the best of both worlds.

What about you? What is your creative outlet?

My First Baby

Today, I want to share something personal. Really personal. I think it’s important to share this story of mine because when I have told people about it, I usually hear that they have been through something similar. But they don’t usually share this information freely because of the fear of getting judged, of being blamed for something that is out of their control. Today, I want to share this story so that others know that this is more common than you think.

Statistics say that the risk of miscarriage is 1 out of 4.

After we got married, we decided not to wait to get pregnant. We both wanted a kid. We were ready for a kid. And then, one day, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! We were so excited. I called my doctor and set up an appointment to go in.

It was pretty cool. We went in and saw our little bean on the ultrasound. We saw his or her heart beating. In the spirit of waiting the traditional first trimester though, we decided to wait to tell our families and friends.

In that time, we went to a family wedding and a few weddings for friends. It was this exciting little secret we had. We couldn’t wait for the day, however, when we could tell the world.

The next appointment came up about a month later. I was so nervous. I had this feeling but I didn’t know if it was because I was just overly paranoid or if something had changed. I kept monitoring my pregnancy symptoms to see if I was feeling nauseous enough or if I was tired enough. I just knew I needed to see my little bean again and make sure that he or she was doing well.

As soon as the doctor looked at the ultrasound though, I knew. She took a while to tell us anything. Then, finally, she told us that the baby hadn’t grown past 6 weeks, when it should have been closer to 10 weeks. She couldn’t see the heart beating anymore.

My heart dropped. I started crying. I was lucky that my doctor was incredibly supportive and just hugged me and said it was okay, that this didn’t mean I wouldn’t have a child later on. She had mentioned she herself had had a couple of miscarriages. My husband and I were just in shock for a bit. Everything we were dreaming of just crashed.

It all seemed so surreal. We were scheduled to go back next week to confirm that it wasn’t just slow development, that the baby wasn’t alive anymore. I spent that whole evening and night crying in my husband’s arms. I spent my time googling everything I could think of where the doctor could be wrong. I just wanted to know that my baby was going to be okay.

We went back the week after. We had had a week to research and hope but went in with very low expectations. The diagnosis was reconfirmed. My doctor set up one more appointment with a specialist to get a second opinion. We saw that specialist that afternoon. That doctor checked and double-checked everything. And she confirmed one more time that I had had a missed miscarriage.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a missed miscarriage is where women can experience a miscarriage without knowing it. A missed miscarriage is when embryonic death has occurred but there is not any expulsion of the embryo. It is not known why this occurs. Signs of this would be a loss of pregnancy symptoms and the absence of fetal heart tones found on an ultrasound. 

We decided to wait one more week before performing a D&C which is minor surgery to remove the fetus. Unfortunately, my body didn’t recognize that my baby wasn’t alive.

I went to a family friend’s wedding in this time. I couldn’t really enjoy it. I was miserable. All I could think of was that my baby, my first child, was inside of me, not living anymore. I kept thinking that I knew that 3 other friends of mine were pregnant. I was the 1 in 4 that had had a miscarriage.

A week later, I saw my doctor one more time. She checked everything again and scheduled my D&C. It was a quick procedure and I was back at work within 2 days. Physically, my body handled it well. Emotionally though, I was still having issues.

We went on a trip a few days later and even though I tried to put my best face forward, this loss kept hitting me. I knew it was not my fault. I did nothing wrong. I had been taking care of myself and my baby. So many things go through your head though. All of the what-ifs and if I had onlys keep recurring over and over again.

I had a really hard time for the next few months. My body still had to go through recovery and that limited what I could do physically. I still saw a therapist for my emotional recovery. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of looking at the positive and to keep thinking that everything happens for a reason. It takes a lot of hoping for a brighter future.

In our South Asian culture especially, blame is often placed on the mother for having a miscarriage as if it’s her fault. Any doctor will tell you that these abnormal chromosomal miscarriages are not preventable. They happen and there’s nothing we can do about it. I wanted to share what I had been through so others that have been through it as well know that it’s not their fault. 1 in 4 is a really high percentage.

Eventually, my doctor gave me the green light to try to get pregnant again. I am now a proud mother of a little girl. I can’t say it was easy though. I worried through almost the entire pregnancy. Every time we went in for a doctor’s appointment, I held my breath. I didn’t feel comfortable until she was safely in my arms.

Even with our beautiful baby here with us now, we will never forget our first child.

Why Do We Stop Trusting Doctors When It Comes To Vaccinating?

Today, I’m done. I keep reading arguments back and forth about vaccinations and I can’t handle it anymore. I can’t read another argument on why a parent should not vaccinate.

Honestly, I’m sad. I’m sad that in this day and age, we take something so wonderful for granted. I’m the first generation born in America. This means that my parents came from India. My spouse also was born and raised in India. We have gone back there quite a few times and you can see the devastation of people who can’t afford the vaccines of all of these preventable diseases. Some of the things that have been wiped out in America (or have been until recently) are still around in developing countries like India.

Why do some people take these medicines for granted? This American medical and scientific community has done so much for the people of this country and there are those that sit there and accuse them of conspiracies and putting our health at risk. This is the same medical community that has helped my grandfather to keep going at the current age of 93 while living with bladder cancer. This is the same scientific community that has found a drug that helps control my seizures on a daily basis.

I’m not saying don’t do research on something. When I was pregnant and figuring out what the risks were to continue my medication to my child and also the risks of breastfeeding her as well, I researched. Yes, I Googled. But then, I did what everyone should be doing. I went and asked my doctors. I consulted 3 different doctors: my neurologist, my obgyn, and my baby’s future pediatrician. Basically, 3 different people that had medical degrees. 2 of them had over 30 years of experience practicing medicine. I trusted them.

I’m in a few mommy groups on Facebook. And I continuously hear stories of so many babies born early or the mother having some problem during pregnancy or the baby spending some time in the NICU due to problems at birth. Guess who was there for all of that? Doctors. They are the ones who protected and cared for your child. They are the ones we literally trust with our lives when we give birth. We have to trust our doctor especially during labor when things can change in a second.

I needed a blood transfusion 2 days after I gave birth. My blood count dropped 2 days in a row even though I didn’t show it (I was completely asymptomatic). I didn’t like the idea of it. I didn’t want it. But I got it. All because my obgyn who knew my history of epilepsy thought it would be safer for me to get my blood count up. She didn’t want me to risk having a seizure with a newborn in the house. She didn’t want me to go home and have to come back to the hospital. And even though it wasn’t my first option of solutions, I did it because she was the one with a medical degree and I trusted her.

So after we go through all of this, why do we suddenly start questioning everything when vaccination time comes around? Why do people need delayed vaccination schedules or even worse, want to opt out of them completely? Why do people suddenly believe that this wonderful medical community that has literally helped them bring a life into this world in the safest way possible is now trying to harm their child?

I feel sorry for all of the children of those people who don’t believe in vaccinations. They are not only at risk of catching completely preventable diseases but there’s a chance that they will be socially outcasted for a decision they have no control over. I don’t want my child around someone who could risk her health. At least, once she’s vaccinated, I don’t have to worry as much. But how are these children who aren’t vaccinated going to travel? How are they going to be as safe as mine is when these diseases do make an appearance from another country? We are a global community in a world that is only becoming smaller.

I just wish these people who don’t believe in vaccinations knew how lucky they are. A country like India could do so much with the vaccination doses that are refused here. It’s pathetic that, with so much medicine at their fingertips, they take it all for granted.

I’m done. The anti-vaccination arguments are ridiculous. I just hope people gain some common sense and appreciate what they have before it’s too late.

The Vaccination Debate Seems To Be A First-World Problem

Yesterday, as I was scrolling through yet another debate about vaccination versus no vaccination in one of my mommy groups on Facebook, it hit me that I keep reading about this debate only in this particular group. I’m in 2 mommy groups on Facebook. One is Indian mommies only and one is a general group of mommies from all cultures.

Now while I usually turn to the general group of mommies for advice because we are all raising children within the same environment and are exposed to the same things, it seems as though this is the one place I can’t take seriously when it comes to this debate. The group with Indian mommies only seems to discuss how to deal with the vaccinations but not whether to take them or not.

I don’t know numbers and I don’t know if this is a general truth. This is only what I’ve observed. But it seems to me that not vaccinating your children is a first world problem.

Is it because most of us Indian people are either first generation in America or first generation born in America? Is it because we are still aware of how many advantages we have with medicine living here?

It seems as though people are taking vaccines for granted here. Until whatever disease become so widespread and affects so many unvaccinated people, it seems as though we are going to sit in the middle of this debate. I hate the idea that children have to go through these sicknesses that could be preventable in order to make the point that vaccines work.

We only have to visit India once to see illness that we don’t see in America anymore. So when we have the option, why would we allow our child to be exposed to that risk? When we know all it takes is one shot to protect our child, why wouldn’t we get it done?

Is it that people in America now have too much information at their fingertips? That our celebrity culture influences us more than it should? That we look for scandal and conspiracy wherever we go? Why can’t we just trust in the medical and scientific community?

Or is it that people questioning the vaccines because they are so easily available? Maybe people would fight for the vaccines more if it were a limited resource.

I don’t know the answers to why people don’t just get their kids vaccinated. All I do know is that a lot of us younger generation Indian parents seem to have more faith in medicine than a lot of our non-Indian counterparts.

Why Can’t You Vaccinate Your Child Again?

I can’t think of anything better to discuss considering we are in the middle of a measles outbreak. I’m not going to sit here and report every fact and figure that is already out there. I’m just going to state my opinion on the whole situation.

It sucks. It really does. There have been reported cases of the measles with 20 miles of where we live. Our kid is still below the age where she can be vaccinated for the measles. Which means she is at risk every time we go out somewhere because someone else didn’t vaccinate their child.

My husband and I aren’t overprotective. We took our 6 month old to India and just tried to keep her protected. She made it through the trip fine. We are the types who believe exposure will build up her immunity to a lot of things. When other outbreaks have happened, we speak with our pediatrician and see what the reality is of the situation.

The reality of this situation is that our child does go to locations and events that involve other young children who can’t be vaccinated yet. And none of us has any way of knowing if any of these children has been exposed to someone who has the measles.

Here’s my question. Why? Obviously, the idea that measles vaccination causes other diseases or developmental problems has already been proven wrong. Even if it did cause problems, the chances are so low that is it really worth taking the risk of having your child catch something that they could have been protected against?

I asked the following question of one of my mommy groups. If the risk of having problems with the vaccine is lower than the chances of your child being in a car accident (especially in Southern California), then why would you continuously put your child in a car but not get the vaccine? It doesn’t make sense to me.

We all want what’s best for our child. We want to protect them against as much as we can. I hate when she cries for anything. So why are we ignoring something that has obviously worked over so much time?

I’m so frustrated that I have to be careful of where I can take my baby to right now because a few people decided to ignore years of progress. And this question will come up again and again when we decide to put her in school and activities.

I come from a family where half of the people are doctors. My family comes from a country that would love to have all the vaccinations the US has for their children. Why do these parents take these vaccines for granted?

I don’t know what the solution to easily resolved problem is. How can you convince people who refuse to vaccinate their kids? I see the posts in my mommy groups and the debate goes on and on and on. The only thing I can think is that if it’s just one simple shot, why doesn’t everyone do it? If it’s shown to work, why is there so much of a fight? Why do we all run to believe people who aren’t qualified to give their opinions?

How can I protect my child against other people’s decisions?

What You Need To Survive Pregnancy (and much more)

All right. Let’s get down to it. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wanted to talk about this in much more honest terms than you hear out there. So here we go.

Pregnancy is tough. There is so much you go through that only another woman can understand. You could have the nicest, most understanding significant other in the world (and I did) but there are times when he won’t understand what you completely feel. Things hurt, everything changes. I had morning sickness for the first 3 months. My legs ached literally from the beginning to the end. And that second trimester that everyone says is easier than the other 2, well, I spent that one worrying about all of the scans where the ultrasound specialists told me that various things could potentially be wrong.

The worrying kills you. Like I’ve mentioned before, you become a parent the second your pregnancy test turns positive. From then on, you watch what you eat, what you drink, what you do, all in the name of not hurting your unborn child. I stopped eating sushi, burgers, soft cheeses, and other various items. I googled every food I was unsure of.

Every doctor’s appointment I went to, I held my breath when I went in for the ultrasound. And I’d relax as soon as they found a heartbeat and took a look and said everything looked good. That would last for literally half a day and I’d start worrying about something else. I had a new pain or something felt different. I was definitely not one of those people who relaxed into pregnancy. I couldn’t even look at baby stuff and feel excited until I had hit somewhere over 30 weeks where I knew if needed, the baby could survive outside of me.

And then there was all the help from the ultrasound specialists. They are programmed to tell you the absolute worse case scenario (I’m assuming in order to avoid a lawsuit). I spent so much of my second trimester worrying about things that might be wrong like the placenta wasn’t doing its job or my baby wasn’t growing according to schedule. I learned a valuable lesson in how to think positively in this time frame because guess what. There’s nothing you can do at that point. You just have to think positive and move forward.

One of the biggest helps I have had is other women friends who have been pregnant. Every time I had a question or felt something new, I would text them and find out what they had been through. It helped me remain calm because I knew I wasn’t alone. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to pregnancy. We all are just trying to survive it so that, at the end, we can hold our beautiful baby in our arms. I still text them with baby questions. And luckily, I’m surrounded by a bunch of great women who don’t judge or think there is one way to do everything. So I definitely get the best advice possible.

Let’s face it. Pregnancy is tough. The best thing you can do for yourself is to make sure you have a great support system. An amazing husband goes a long way but you will also definitely need friends who have gone through it so that they understand what you’re feeling and can truly empathize with you. It’s a long 40 weeks. Do what you can to make those weeks as good as possible.