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Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: Marriage

Opening Up

jasmine banks

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So many self-help books tout that in order thrive in life you have to "stay open". Dr Quinn The Medicine Woman even had a line of jewelry about being "open-hearted". In the commercial she shows all kinds of relationships that were better for opening their hearts. We are supposed to believe these relationships, some at least, are diametrically opposed. Like the "goth daughter" with her mom. This commercial cracks me up!Kay Jewelry Open Heart Commercial

Dumb and cheesy commercial aside, this language is actually about trust. It is hard to stay open and extend trust for most people. It is especially difficult for those of us who are closed in many ways. If you know what I mean, you understand the mental wrestling matches we go through when we are talking about trust. When your primary messages were lessons about how untrustworthy caregivers are, trust is a dangerous word. Trust means letting your guard down. Trust means you aren't ready to sprint when danger hits. And danger WILL hit because that is just how your world works. When the calm of life settles in your suspicious increase, because your fight or flight tells you that someone unseen and dangerous is on the way. I've been intentional, over the years, about adopting a worldview that supposes people are born good and have the tools in them to be the best versions of theirselves. I've adopted this view as a means of survival, and because I have growing proof that it is mostly true. It has been the only way to diffuse my fight or flight responses that are almost always on high alert. There is a continual mantra in my head: "you are safe. you are okay. you are an adult now. you know how to protect and care for yourself. you are safe." I have so much proof of this worldview in my life. I've had so many people intervene with love and support and grace over my lifetime. The struggle has been the people who are not proof of that worldview. They aren't random outliers. They are people that we believe we should be able to trust: "friends", mothers, sisters, fathers, pastors, teachers, family. We all know folks who seem to continue cycles of hurt and suffering habitually. We've been those people, at times, that have hurt others- but the difference is the pattern. The line between those of us who are damaged and working through the wreckage we cause and those of us who are damaged and cause wreckage is responsibility Look for the ones who say sorry AND change their actions. Look for the ones that exercise repairing behaviors for their offenses, not compensating behaviors. After all, our pain and suffering in relationship with others is not about an exchange that requires pay out. So should we open up? Should we trust. The answer is yes. We should open up and trust ourselves first. We should open up and trust, in time, with the people who deserve that honor. Trust is something you exercise for yourself... Not because someone "deserves" it.

International Women's Day Is About Raising Boys

jasmine banks

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Huzzah! International Women's Day. What are we celebrating? All things vagina! Woohoo!... which as it turns out are INTERNAL. I know we call the "down there area" vagina, but it isn't.  Your goods, va jay jay,  lady garden, tender flower, and all other euphemism (ad nauseum) is called VULVA. IF there is one day to get this right, it is today, International Women's Day. Which brings me to why International Women's Day, for me, is *actually* about raising my sons. "Yeah, yeah yeah," you think, "yet ANOTHER day that is supposed to be about women, and here we are talking phallus." Well. IF you are a MOTHER of a SON sit down and lets have a chat.

International Women's Day, of course, is a day for me to reflect on motherhood, womanhood, the women who helped raise me, and what my life is like with my lady plumbing. It is  ALSO about me raising my sons, because they can grown up shaped by the world OR by me to be several different kinds of men.

They could grow up to be the kind of men who ignore the rights of women and attempt to legislate women's bodies.

They could grow up to be the kind of men who call women whores based on their desire to be responsible for their bodies.

They could grow up to be the kind of men who say it was the woman's fault. She was dressed in a short skirt. She was basically asking for it.

They could grow up saying that unwanted pregnancies of ANY kind are good lessons to teach women that what they are doing (read: HAVING SEX) is wrong.

They could grow up to be the kind of man who is convinced that a woman doesn't have a whole sense of self apart from her "spiritual leader". 

They could grow up  be the kind of man who hates women so much, who is so buried in misogyny, that even another man who could  be portrayed as "feminine" elicits violent responses. 

SO on International Women's Day I am embracing one of the most POWERFUL positions I have as a woman. I am a mother to BOYS who will grow up to be MEN. I am exercising my power to teach my sons, Isaiah and Tobias, to  be feminists.

I vow to teach them that women are beautiful and complicated PEOPLE who have the same power and ability as men.  I vow to teach my sons that they are in charge of their bodies, thoughts, and actions as women should have the right to be in charge of their bodies, thoughts, and actions. I vow to teach Isaiah and Tobias that "feminine" and "masculine" is a wide range of things and are all acceptable definitions. I will teach my sons about what a vulva is, where the clitoris is, and why making love is more important than making porn.  I vow to edify my sons and help them understand that their masculinity or femininity (because YES men have femininity in them as well) is not defined by the stereotypes and gross exaggerations, but are as unique as the finger prints on the people who bear them.. There are no "girl colors" or "boy colors". These, dear boy, are just colors. We all have equal rights to them. I vow to teach them to be respectful and honest husbands and partners who know how to say "I'm sorry."

I will teach my sons that love is love. People are people. NO  matter what.

And.

Grace and Love (love for everyone) are the most important things.

I am raising sons to be good people, and it is the most feminist expression of power that I have ever exercised.

Happy International Women's Day!

 

Baby Brown #4

jasmine banks

Garrett looked at me the other day and said, seriously, "I'd really like to have another child." He explained how he weighed the financial, emotionals, and all the other important things and come to the realization that he wanted a fourth child. Isaiah and Addison are partners in crime, extremely close, and wonderful support to each other. Tobias, though he is still young, is clearly divided from them. Odd man out. A fourth tiny would give him a friend and make our family complete. The only child we planned was Addison...and we had to take fertility meds to have her. I am a strange breed of woman. High androgens and PCOS means that I don't have a period... I've had maybe FOUR in my life. Which just means I am extra awesome, or as that doctors call it "Infertile". How can I *still* be classified "infertile" when I have three kids? Can we not take that off my record? No... why? Well, because the doctor says without menstruation and dropping eggs my lady plumbing is considered infertile.

We got pregnant with Isaiah by surprise. You got married in June, here is your October SURPRISE! Moooorning sickness! Then, when Isaiah was older, we wanted to have another baby. I got pregnant, briefly, and miscarried. We consulted an OB and he called me the "I" word again. After a year of trying on Clomid and progesterone (the hormone drugs from hell) we gave up. Three months later we got pregnant. I gave birth to Addison and then got pregnant shortly after. I also miscarried that baby.

Our marriage got rocky and we didn't know if we'd keep it together. Then we found out we were pregnant with this guy- and we decided to give our marriage a bit more of a chance. We should have named Tobias "condom failure". Condom failure was born to the infertile woman through an unlikely broken condom during a "maybe we should get back together" makeup sex session.  Ah life... you are, indeed, tricksy!

We discovered chemical birth control worsens my medical condition and turns me into a crazy harpy.

Two months ago I got another positive pregnancy test, and then another miscarriage.

You see. Like most things in my life I live in this middle space. Not absolute introvert or extrovert, not Black but not White. I am neither fertile or infertile. A "fertile" woman knows when she will cycle and drop and ova and is able to get pregnant and carry that child. An infertile woman cannot get pregnant for various reasons. She is considered infertile because:

  • fertilized eggs or embryos do not survive once they stick to the lining of the womb
  • fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus
  • eggs cannot move from uterus or womb
  • ovaries have problems producing eggs
Three obstetrician and two endocrinologist are stumped! They don't know how I keep getting pregnant. An ultrasound of my ovaries show a right dead ovary (I had surgery as a child and half of it was taken) and left ovary full of painful cysts (Hooray PCOS!).
So when my husband says, "I'd like to have a fourth baby," it means a lot for my body.
I am considering it. 
I haven't made a decision.
I am afraid of another miscarriage
I am afraid I won't be able to get pregnant again.
I know I am luckier then a lot of "infertile" women.... I have three kids, already.
Am I being greedy?
I hate to think of the rude comments families with more than two children get.
At the same time, since our life and marriage have been so painful in the last 18 months, it would be healing to be able to choose to bring a child into the world together in love and with intention. Another pregnancy, and child, would be a beautiful way to close a very hard chapter of our life- like a planned finale. I don't know. I am on the fence.
But there is a possibility of Baby Brown #4
Having a uterus is so complicated.