I can’t do this alone – it takes a team

I can’t do it myself.

My pearls continue to grow as my daughter enters her third decade. My life has changed radically over the years, I left my downtown business to home school and develop a brain training program with professionals who believed we may advance our daughter’s development. Then I left my business for seven years to research limbic to cortex to limbic strategies in dogs from hard places hoping to discover clues to help adults learn life skills. So meanwhile, we left our retirement to help our daughter become more self-sustaining and develop a LiveAbilities program. It is time to share.

Wisdom is more precious than Pearls
My pearlz have grown larger, stronger and they are not round!

They are not perfect nor am I.

None of this knowledge would have been possible if I had decided I could do all this on my own. It took many other people and most importantly people living with neuro-diversity to become my teachers. Personally, I am incapable of always handling the minute by minute chaos,needs and reactions of a person highly affected by prenatal alcohol in the womb. Knowing the reason and having a bigger picture perspective was valuable because for twelve years we collected labels that sent us in scattered and confusing directions.

I thought I knew what love meant. Today I realize I had but the tiny spark of the verb love and the heart work it takes daily.  I thought I knew what being a good person was. I had no idea. And I thought I had a handle on faith and knew God as I recited bedtime and dinner prayers. My daughter and the sixteen other children that moved in and out of our family tore off my blinders and ripped my soul to seek new understanding—to discover wisdom.

I had as picture of a loving Father in Heaven with a long flowing robe and white hair. Jesus had been a great story book character to help create a better life. I had no idea who Holy Spirit was—I didn’t mess with ghosts. Besides I didn’t need them—I was in control and everything was fine until I held a precious unconnected dying baby I was charged to keep alive and love back to life.

Today, at the end of the second thirty years of my life I have the privilege of looking back and seeing how all that happened in the first thirty years lay all the groundwork for the next thirty years. I am indebted to the parents that ran this the generation before me—Teresa Kellerman, Bonnie Buxton and Brian Philcox, Bruce Richie, Delinda McCann, Jocie DeVries, Vicky McKinney and so many others. I am excited to embrace the next thirty using my knowledge hopefully with less mistakes and pain. I am thankful for the past thirty year season that allowed me the opportunity to create my pearls.

Where it began.

My father, a carpenter, was a WWII veteran discharged honorably from both the army and navy. He married my mother–a fire spark from a business and educated family. He returned silent from the war after bearing witness to atrocities he held inside until he reached age eighty. My parents loved each other and lost three beloved children before me. My sister, Sally died at two days old of a hole in her heart. That hole transferred to the heart of my parents as their friends birthed children who were celebrating joy. Two miscarriages later, I was conceived and to prevent miscarriage my mother was prescribed DES (Stilbestrol by Eli Lilly – now illegal and banned) to prevent miscarriage. It was given to millions of women in the United States during this time.

DES Action Co-founder Pat Cody, author of DES Voices: From Anger to Action, states. “My doctor increased the dosage every two and a half weeks and I faithfully took the Stilbestrol – the trade name for Eli Lilly’s brand of diethylstilbestrol – for seven months, four times a day, until my 37th week of pregnancy. DES was expensive, $30 a month at a time when our house rent was $75. By the time I had completed this course of treatment, I had swallowed a total of 10,100 milligrams, or more than ten grams of DES – roughly the equivalent of 500,000 of today’s low-dose birth control pills.”

DES was used less in the 1960s, after studies showed that it might not help women carry pregnancies to full term. Later, it was learned that infants whose mothers took DES during the first 5 months of pregnancy were more likely to have problems in their reproductive systems. And immersed in this drug, its insidiousness haunted me in the ability to conceive.

During the 50’s alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy were not known to do harm. My mother drank and smoked throughout her pregnancy—I was one of the lucky ones. If I have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder it is on the high functioning side, regardless I have a heart for the people and internal understanding of living with this challenge.

I must have been a strong personality from the beginning because in spite of all that, I was blessed as a person filled with busyness and activity and curiosity. Today I would have been diagnosed high level ADHD but I became a child of lake and woods and field and ran off my daily energy, collapsing in a warm bath to clean off the dirt, prayers and soft pillows where I fell into deep and dream-filled sleeps.

Little did I know I would need all that energy to build a business and raise a dying infant into adulthood.
Little did I understand the hard won wisdom I would gain as I let go of control
and let others support and help and create strategies with me.

We need to be a team –
and that means all of us in this complex hard parenting issue together!

2016 – Jodee Kulp, www.betterendings.org – this article may be reprinted and shared.

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