What I have learned about adoption, family and myself since the death of my birth mother

I am adopted. For me, it's just normal. It's not something I'm ashamed of or anything I have ever had a problem with. I've always known I was adopted and had quite a few peers and friends who are also adopted so there was no stigma. It was a closed adoption and at the time the identity of the woman who gave me up for adoption was not disclosed. That woman has recently passed away which has led me to look back and consider what it has meant to me to be adopted and look at the relationship we have had.

Tips for new parents: augmenting your pre-baby beauty regimes

Today I would like to publicly celebrate an unpredictable effect of that very predictable phenomenon: the way in which my beauty routine did not disappear at all as much as it mutated in strange and wonderful ways. It is now wholly different to what it previously was: it would be unrecognisable, probably, to my pre-parenthood self. But, I venture to assure you, it's quicker. It's cheaper. Hell, it might even be better.

My son is more than "a heart transplant baby"

Families that experience major medical drama or have chronic conditions are all too often permanently associated with that drama. I had a friend growing up whose family was "The Car Accident Family" after several of them were permanently disabled in a serious collision. One of my friends was "The Dog Bite Girl," and the mother of another friend was creatively dubbed "Deaf Mom." I myself was a member of "The Kidney Family" after my mother donated my father a kidney when I was in middle school. We got pregnant, and I was all geared up to be identified as a mom, hopefully a pretty awesome one.

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I've started telling my daughters I'm beautiful

There are a lot of people like me. Women who know things. Women who have seen things. Women with diseases in their livers. There are a lot of women with scars on their arms and words that carry themselves like sparrows. There are women who were too big for this town, who had their backs bent carrying things like religion and a history that originated somewhere in the crook of a branch that extended over a stream. All of you women with lines on your brow, with cracks between your fingers… it's been a long winter. All of you, you are beautiful and so am I.