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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: Use Your Words- A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper; Viva Editions


As a mother AND a writer I was very blessed to be able to review the book Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers. Many birth stories aren’t the way they are supposed to be, not the way we secretly wished and hoped they would have turned out.

My first pregnancy was an amazing example of that. Being 6 months pregnant with pain beginning in my back at 24 weeks, I thought it was just my kidney infection. As it progressed to my stomach with the clenching I became worried.

I called my OB-GYN, who wasn’t in the office at the time—the message said for me to call the hospital where she was on call. I did just that. I still didn’t get the chance to talk to my OB-GYN, but I did get to talk to a Doctor who said it was either Braxton Hicks or REAL labor. I had to go in immediately to see what was going on.

As I arrived at the hospital, they began checking me for signs that my pain was coming from my kidney infection. I was there quite a while when they asked me if they could check me for dilation. After 20 MORE painful minutes, they came In and told me that I was indeed dilated 2 cm and they were going to have to ship me to a larger city.

As they began telling me that my baby was coming—I was absolutely stunned. How could this happen to me? I don’t even know anyone that’s ever had a premature baby. Is this my fault? Is he going to live? What is going to happen?

They hooked me up to an IV and began pumping me me with Magnesium, which is supposed to help calm contractions and keep the baby from coming. They also had given me a shot of steroids in case the baby DID come his lungs would be a little bit stronger.

I was very scared. Adam was at work 45 minutes away and the only person with me at the time was my mom. I texted Adam at work and let him know that they were flying me more than an hour away to a hospital with a NICU.

They wouldn’t let anyone in the helicopter with me.. so it was just me and my excessive worries. The helicopter’s nurse told me to tell her when I was having contractions. I couldn’t though- they were coming every MINUTE. So I gritted my teeth and waited to land.

As we arrived—they took me straight to a room and began checking me for dilation again. This time they scared me HORRIBLY bad. They told me that he was coming out breech and I was dilated 10 (which is ALL the way). They couldn’t wait for anyone to get there and be with me.. I was rushed into surgery.

I didn’t plan for any of this to  happen to me—yet it did. This is Aidan’s birth story and it forever changed my life. Beginning life at 24 weeks wasn’t his plan either- but it happened. Through the next 16 weeks in the NICU were some of the hardest times in my life for myself and my tiny little baby.

It was super frightening to see a baby born at 1 pound 13 ounces and only 12 1/2 inches long. He was EXTREMELY small, couldn’t be held, and his EYES were still fused shut. It made me realize how grateful we have to be for what we have in our life. It made me realize what kind of mom I wanted to be and the limits I would push myself to be with my son as much as I could (where he was more than an hour from home).

As time went on, and 3 pound babies were passing away in this lonely little NICU, I become VERY worried. I would do everything I can to be there as much as possible. Aidan’s night nurse became my best friend at this time. She knew how hard a time I was having leaving him. YET- I didn’t have the fund (place to stay, money to eat on, or a place to shower) while I was up there. So she acted as his second mom and took care of him while I was at home at work.

Now I look back on those days and wish I had written everything down in a journal. Although most of it is embedded in my brain for life—the little details are lost to me. I don’t know exact dates of stuff that I wish I did. I wish I had written it down for HIM as well as myself.

The days seemed never-ending yet flew by at the same time. It was heartbreaking to leave him, and even more heartbreaking to go home every time without him in my arms. I would call every hour on the hour checking on him when I couldn’t be there.. 3 1/2 months felt like an entire year.

I want him to look back and SEE how far he has come. How proud I am that he was such a fighter. I wish he knew how many times I prayed that everything would turn out right. How many nights I spent crying because I didn’t have the money to go up there daily even though I was working as much as I could possibly work while seeing him as well.

Everything just rushes at me. When I got a chance to review this book, I knew I wanted to help the cause. When your baby is young (or you’re pregnant) especially with your first child—writing may not seem something that you’re sure of. Pictures in the baby book- of course.. But what if they could look back and see the way we seen THEM? To see and feel the love that a mother has for her child?

This book means a lot to me and I love that they are helping women find their writing voice. I know some writers may not feel like “MOM writing” is an actual piece of work. I KNOW it is. I know that this is the most important time in your life and should be documented.

This book helps to find that purpose, helps gets those words out, and helps with writing exercises. This not only helps find your “MOM voice” but your “writing voice” as well.

I love that it not only has the writing exercises, but it also contains writing pieces as well. I love having examples and reading others work before beginning my own. This helps me to gain some kind of ground before writing. Helps me get a feel of WHAT I want to write before writing. This is the how-to writing guide that should come in every moms first diaper bag.

Everything in this book is inspiring and it is an absolute MUST have book. Whether you’re pregnant; have a newborn, toddler, school aged child, or your children have already left the nest. Leave them more than just baby pictures.. leave them their history- their story!

BUY IT: You can buy the     Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers book for $11.32



Jessica Renee



This post was written by:

Jess is the creator of Stylish Southern Mama + Southern Rambles. She is a freelance writer + designer, Social Media Marketer, and Journalist. She has 2 amazing kids, Aidan and Adisyn, and has been with their dad Adam for 12 years, and has 2 amazingly adorable dogs; Harley + Cheyanne! :)

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