Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Shit No One Tells You

When I was a kid, my parents had this policy that you could ask anything and get an honest answer. It went hand in hand with another policy of theirs, which was you could use any word as long as you knew what it meant. They'd quiz you occasionally too, just to make sure you were paying attention.
"What's 'pissed off' mean, Karin?"
"It means perturbed."
I was a bit precocious.

My parents rarely used the parental copout/freakout/I-don't-want-to-talk-about-this card of "I'll tell you when you're older." So I probably would have learned about sex pretty early no matter what.

But as it turned out, I learned about sex from the movie Porky's.


I was 4 or 5. In 1984, movies were a big treat. You couldn't just watch pop one in the DVD player at any time. You had to see it at the theater, or you had to wait for it to come out on network television. Most mommies reading this were probably born after 1984 so I'm giving a reference to the times. Not like before TV times, (we weren't crowded around the radio listening to fireside chats, I'm not that much older than you all,) but before VCRs and DVDs.

The one exception was hotels. Hotels had pay-per-view and you could order movies. Which was exciting and fun and how my parents got my brother and I to get along for a couple of hours so they could go to dinner without us. They left us in the room with instructions that we could order a movie. We could watch whatever we wanted, EXCEPT NOT Porky's.

So, of course, we watched Porky's.

My brother and I did not often get along as kids. So when we conspired to keep this a secret from my parents, I was all in. I was NOT telling that we'd conspired to watch an R movie. I kept it a secret for quite a while. I'm not sure how long it really was. But in 5-year-old-land, it was a long time.

But then one day where-babies-come-from came up. And I said I knew where babies came from. My mom decided it was time for a quiz. This time I was not so successful in my precociousness.

"Ok, Karin. Tell me, where do babies come from. Tell me what you know."
I cried for fear of being in trouble. I wasn't. I told. Babies come from when two people take their clothes off and rub up against each other.

My mom had "the talk" with me then and there. She used proper terminology like "penis" and "vagina" and told me the whole deal.


She forgot to tell me you don't get pregnant every time. It was years before I found that part out. Which meant I was really confused as to why all these "accidents" happened.

The process of pregnancy and miscarriage and childbirth and parenting can be like that. You think you know, but then you find out something no one ever told you about. I'm thinking of taking a break from this blog to write about all the shit no one tells you. I'll be dropping it off here. I'll collect stories from anyone who'd like to share (anonymously or guest postings welcome.) I'm thinking this could grow into a book so I'll be testing some ideas out on the new blog and will appreciate any feedback. Feel free to comment or email me at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Angry Whiteman's Grave

I couldn't come out for National Coming Out Day. You know, because I'm not gay. I like ladies. Just not their lady parts. Well, boobs are nice. Everyone likes boobs. Anyway, I did get a pink triangle rattle, which we've dubbed the gay pride toy for Magnus. Oh and name him after his gay grandad. So I guess that was good.

Anyone notice that National Coming Out Day was the same day as Columbus Day. That makes me happy. Because I think it would make him turn over in his angry whiteman grave to know that homosexuality is accepted and welcomed on his day. Because Columbus was a douche. Which reminds me of that time in Chile when my homework was about Christopher Columbus but I didn't know his name was Colon in Spanish so I wrote a sentence about the colon. Ha ha, what a douche.

When you're on maternity leave, is it like vacation where if you want a beer at an odd time of day, say like 2 pm, you just have it? How about just because its Tuesday?

I didn't think so.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No kisses for ChompSki

Today ChompSki, our boxer dog, was especially annoying. He just kept wanting to go outside. Our yard's not fenced. But ChompSki usually sticks close by. He stays to the back yard, does his business maybe visits the creek behind our house for some mountain spring water, then heads back to the sliding glass door. Today though, he kept going in front. He's not allowed to do that. He knows he's not allowed to do that. He normally behaves pretty well. Not today.

So when I got the baby all packed up to go to a lunch date, I notice a skeleton on the driveway. I should mention that I've been watching way too much Bones. What? Its what I've been doing while breast feeding. You can't read while breast feeding.

So when I see the carcass in the driveway, I think its a body. And then I realize what a spaz I am. And what a gross dog I have.

No kisses for ChompSki today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I still can't decide if I should write about this, what I should write about this, how I feel about this, how I should feel about this. But here it is. Magnus was a twin. Was. big WAS.

Not for long. Maybe 5weeks. But still.

Because I'd had the miscarriage, I called and made an appointment right away when I found out I was pregnant. They saw me at 5 weeks. Did and ultrasound and saw two little blobbies. I asked if it could be twins and they said yes. Could be. But not necessarily.

So I came back at 7 weeks. Because they were hoping to see a heartbeat then. They did. It was Magnus's. By then there were dark spots on my ultrasound too though. They didn't like that. Doctors weren't sure what it meant. Could be another miscarriage in waiting. Could've been lots of things. So I waited another 2 weeks to go in for another ultrasound. At 9 weeks they were hoping they'd be able to tell but said it was possible they wouldn't. I counted dayshoursminutesseconds. It was loooooonnnggg.

When I went in at 9 weeks, they said the spots were the same so not to worry and Magnus would be fine. But then he was just a little bloppie. The ultrasound picture of him was bigger than him.

Fast forward 31 weeks and a live birth later. And there were those dark spots live and in placenta. And they seemed to indicate multiples. At least one other baby was there.

Which means there's another little lost one. And I feel mixed emotions. Like I should shut up about it because I got this awesome healthy baby, who, every time I put my head to his chest, has this amazing heart beat that rushes along full speed ahead.

But also, like I lost another one. Seriously? Rewind 35 weeks- I was sure there were twins. Scared about it too. Because twins come out earlier. Because almost all mountain babies are put on oxygen and trying to pull two babies around on oxygen sounded scary. Plus, TWINS! Two of everything. Two car seats, double stroller, twice the diapers, twice the breast feeding, twice the bedtimes. But rewind 35 weeks and a large part of me wanted to have those twins. I could do it, right?

But I was spared that. Or something. Part of me thought it was lucky that I wouldn't have to care for twins. And felt bad about it. But part of me feels the loss of another baby. As Lora might say, another ghost baby. Maybe my first baby needed the company. But my heart didn't. Didn't need the company or the confusion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Destructive thoughts. Everyone has them. Or, at least, I choose to believe everyone has them. Who hasn't thought about driving their car into the concrete wall? Its not suicidal either. Its instinctual and destructive.

Thinking about smashing computers into tiny bits. Or whatever your pleasure. Or anger. Or whatever.

For me its not even an emotional thing. It seems to just exist. Like, mentally, I'm running through the grocery list, the to-do list, processing my day at work, and oh by the way I'm thinking of driving over the dam and what noise my car would make as it splashed into the lake.

Now I've added horrible thoughts of things happening to my child to that same destructive list. As in, I no longer think of driving into or over things, but what would happen if we took Magnus on a boat and he somehow fell overboard. Like, if picturing myself diving into the cold water and how fast I could swim to catch him would protect him in some way, I would be prepared. Like if I prepare all these scenarios for how to save his life, I'll be prepared to save his life in any situation.

Today it was that the stroller somehow got blown over by the wind and fell into the creek and how I would run down the embankment and get him. Its horrible.

When I was a kid, my mom used to say she was "having visions." Sometimes it was because your glass was too close to the edge of the table but it could also be something that we were talking about doing and how she was picturing some awful injury to our little bodies. I get it now. I hate that I get it now, but I get it.

Because I have visions of a moment where someone throws my child and I catch him. Or where I throw him to Rob in a bizarre moment of impulse. And Rob looks at me with a moment of hate in eyes and I know our relationship is over.

Does this happen to other people? How do you make it stop?