Monday, July 26, 2021

The Battle of Peer Dependency: Chapter Six- Part Two

Hello, buddies!

I had my appointment with my OB a few days ago.  While stating frequently that she was open to whatever decision I made about attempting another pregnancy, she was also very clear that she was very concerned that I would have another severe pre-eclampsia event leading to an early delivery.  She had had two previous patients with a similar case history as I had.  One patient had a later successful pregnancy; the other's next pregnancy ended in severe pre-eclampsia leading to delivery at 24 weeks instead of 30 weeks.

That was before explaining all of the additional issues that could come up from being 40 when pregnant to me and a baby.

Hearing all of this stung a bit - I don't think anyone likes hearing that they are an obstetric train wreck -  but my main thought was that I didn't want to bet everything our family has gained over the last four years against the off-chance of having a healthy pregnancy. 

I'm sad.  I'm angry at times.  I'm relieved as well; there were a lot of mild annoyances with pregnancy that I was not looking forward to at all.  

Right now, I would like to have another child in our family - I just don't think the kid will join us through biological means.   I'm going to take at least through the New Year off from planning how to expand our family to let myself think and feel whatever comes up about not having another biological child.

At the same time, I realized at my OB's office that I was much less afraid of having another medically complicated child in our family than I was the severe guilt I would have at causing a child to be medically complicated by choosing to get pregnant knowing that my odds of a healthy, term pregnancy are poor. 

Spawn's infancy and toddlerhood were so very hard in some ways - but I know a whole lot more about how to manage medical and developmental complications.   Like...I know now that I would have gotten a better response on my worries about his speech development from his neurodevelopmental pediatrician than I did through Early On.  Since his at-home special education treatment though our local ISD was a complete shit-show, I'd follow my gut instinct and keep him in Early On with therapists I liked and coordinate care through medical rehabilitation until he was old enough to transition to school-based therapy.

I suspect my husband and I will end up either pursuing adoption of a medically complicated infant (or a preemie of some kind) or doing foster care and/or doing foster-to-adopt when Spawn's a bit older.

Random subject change: let's talk about papal infallibility for a second. 

I'm Catholic and the Catholic Church as always been discussing the limits and rights of the Pope.  Off and on since at least the 1500's theologians have been proposing different ideas about if and when the believers of the Catholic Church can be certain that something taught by the Pope is correct.  Some popes have been very agreeable about theological limitations on their teaching authority; others have viewed any limitations on their power - temporal or spiritual - as a personal insult.   

Most fascinatingly, there's an apocryphal story in the Church that the definition of papal authority was set when a pope in the 1800's ended the ongoing debate by calmly declaring that the pope was, in fact, infallible.   This story is completely untrue - but it does fit the level of mild confusion and love of tradition that the Catholic Church is known for.   

In 1870 during the First Vatican Council, the definition of papal infallibility was set as occurring when the Pope speaks with all of the following conditions attached.  The Pope must be teaching ex cathedra which means as the leader of the Catholic Church.  He must be teaching on a point of faith or morals.  This point must be meant to be held by the entirety of the Church.

How often does the Pope issue a papally infallible teaching?  Very rarely.  There are two agreed upon statements about the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary that are viewed to be infallible that have happened in the early 1800's and 1950's.   There are a few others - like 10 others - that are agreed to probably be infallible that cover information about the nature of God and Jesus that were made between 400 AD - 1800AD.

Long story short: rarely a Pope makes a teaching on faith and morals that Catholics believe to be a true revelation from God based in tradition that we should accept.

Why am I bringing this up right now?   Well, in the next quote from Marina Sears' opus "The Battle of Peer Dependency", God gets really irritated with Marina for not raising her kids as if she's more infallible than the Pope:

One day, the battle between may son and me had become very grievous. After he left the house, I am ashamed to say, I stomped my foot and said to the Lord, " I only want him to love You with all his heart, soul, and might. Why doesn't he love You all his heart, soul, and might?

In my spirit the Lord answered me by saying, " Marina, why don't you love me with all your heart, soul, and might?"

" Me, Lord? I do love you with all my heart. You know how I have sacrificed so that I can rear these children. I have not sought a life of my own. I did it because I thought that was what you wanted me to do."

Then He said, "Remember when it was just the children, you, and Me. We would talk and spend time discussing the future for the children. You remembered that it was I who created them and knew the plans I had for them. You would ask me what curriculum to use or what Bible verses to memorize. When you became friends with all the other homeschooling families you began to ask them what they were using. You were caught up in the academic flurry of higher education rather than considering my higher plans. Marina, your children don't love me with all of their heart, soul, and might, because you don't!"

It was at that moment I realized what the Lord was saying was true. I have left the Lord for the esteem of others. It was more important for me to know that my friends thought I was a good homeschooling mom, rather than what the Lord thought of me. I myself had fallen into the trap of peer dependency. (pgs. 79-80)
Yup. God expects Marina to parent as if she's more infallible than the Pope.

When the pope speaks infallibly, he's making a statement that has been crafted in conjunction with information from bishops stationed around the world.  Generally,  the College of Cardinals has weighed in on the theological and practical ramification of the statement.  The work of theologians outside of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is crucial to the formation of the statement.   

A infallible papal statement is a group effort with lots of moments of disagreement, discussion and reconciliation of ideas.   

Marina Sears, on the other hand, has ruptured her relationship with God by taking advice from experienced homeschooling parents.  

Does that even make sense from a Biblical perspective?  No, not at all!  Throughout the Bible, people are interacting with other people and taking really good advice from them.  Think of Ruth getting advice from Naomi about how to approach Boaz or Esther and Mordecai working to save the Jewish people or Elizabeth and Mary caring for baby John together.

Marina Sears' revelation that God wants her to only discuss homeschooling with Him is oddly aligned with her personal wishes, wants and desires - in spite of her much belated declaration that she had succumbed to peer pressure.

Most importantly of all is Mrs. Sears bald admission of her basic motive.   Marina Sears chose a highly restrictive way of raising her children that reduced her personal opportunities.   She made a completely valid choice - but she cannot expect that her children in return will remain dependent on her forever.  

After all. "I want my son to love You with all his heart, all his soul and all his body" has the unspoken clause of "which he will show by doing what I tell him to do for the rest of his life."

That's a problem.


  1. That passage might just be the weirdest/creepiest thing I've seen yet in your quotes from Sears' book. 1) she presumes she knows what's in her son's heart re: his own relationship with God, 2) she's having a conversation with God like he's right there in the room, shooting the breeze, and 3) she's making God sound like the exact same type of controlling abusive parent that she herself apparently is. Also, worrying more about what the neighbors OR God think of your homeschooling skills instead of worrying about your kid's actual education seems a little nuts to me as well...

    1. If this book has a theme, it's that Marina Sears took Depeche Mode's song "Personal Jesus" far too literally.

      Most of this chapter fits "what the hell did I just read?" territory.....

  2. I hear the frustration at being a medically complicated case. Found out earlier this month that I'm a rare-ish case of a woman entering perimenopause at 32 and will likely never have children of my own. Due to hospitalization (against my will) for mental health reasons, I'm also unlikely to be able to adopt. The anger and the sadness are real and heavy right now.

    Haven't told my mom yet because she's basically Marina Sears and I don't want to deal with her telling me I brought it on myself by getting a PhD and waiting until I was done to have kids.

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, Unknown.

      For all that Spawn was a medically complicated bundle o'fun, I never had to have anyone approve me as a parent to have him in my life. On the flip side, I was scared snotless secondhand in the NICU by the occasional very, very, very young and immature parents of a very medically complicated child. I....was really grateful that I was 35 and well-versed in life before I had Spawn - and really scared for those families.

      I know adoption rules vary quite a bit by country, but a history of mental illness - even involuntary hospitalization - is not necessarily a bar to adoption in the US. You do need to have a clean bill of health from a current provider stating that you are in a good place to be a parent and not unlikely to have a dramatically shorter lifespan than average. I had two voluntary hospitalizations when I was 19 - and I plan to be proactively honest about those just like I'm going to be honest about Spawn and my gallbladder removal. We still treat mental illness like it's something big and secret - but special-needs kids and parents often need psychological support and I think I'm better suited to parent special-needs kids because I do know that sometimes in-patient treatment is needed even when it sucks.

      About your mom: She sucks. I'm in favor of lying through your teeth and telling her your OB found a whole ton of fibroids - or scarring from silent endometriosis - or some other nondescript female problem that is not age-related. Hell, I had a student who had a complete hysterectomy at age 14 due to massive, uncontrollable endometriosis followed by Mayo Clinic pain center work due to the nerve damage caused by the endometriosis.

    2. Unfortunately, mom's a nurse, so information diet is better than trying to keep up with a medically-based lie. Add to that that she thinks she knows what's best for everyone else's life and takes her role as parent to mean that she can give unsolicited advice and be offended when we decline it, not telling her is easier. When I do tell her, it will likely be accompanied with a "don't want to talk about it, thanks."

      I haven't had enough time yet to research all of the adoption things, but what I have found is that a recorded suicide attempt might be enough for most agencies to nix you. Of course, it varies by agency, so we'll see. Another option would be embryo adoption (a form of IVF), since normal IVF is likely out of reach without an egg donor. It doesn't really help that I'm a little uncertain ethically about IVF - it feels a lot like eugenics. Probably not the best reasoning, but that's where I'm at.

    3. I'm so sorry, Unknown. Proud that you've stood up for building your own path.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your medical news. With so much experience with kids you'd be a great foster/adoptive parent. When my parents were considering fostering to adopt they started with respite care. That's for very short placements like if a foster family is going out of state for a week and the foster kids need to stay in state. Might be worth looking into. Good luck.

  4. Just wanted to offer my sympathy and support on your medical news. It sounds like you're very much making the right decision for you and your family. But even when it's right, it can be painful. Wishing you all the best.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Sorry to hear about your news! We'll be praying for you guys. I am glad you have all the resources and information you need to make the safest decision for you and family.

    Thanks for the interesting info about the Church! That's stuff I didn't know, and does help illustrate the disturbing views of Marina Sears. I can't believe what small boxes she keeps locking herself into.