The Birth Debate

 

Recently a new-ish trend has caught on in popularity in the family community: birthing. Now, I don’t mean just having a prim baby for the sake of having a prim baby; that’s been around since before I got here and it’ll be around after many residents move on. The type of birthing that I’m talking about is the birthing of a child you’ve adopted into your family as “blood”. Here’s an example in case I’m still unclear.

You’ve adopted a child that you’re sure you couldn’t love more if they were your own. So you decide to make it “official”, past the kind of official that adoption agencies can bring you, and into the kind of official that only saying “this is the fruit of my loins (for lack of a better term), and I love them unconditionally and will do so forever.” So you get pregnant, by whatever means or method that suits you and yours, and 9 months (or weeks, or days, the time is really up to you) later, your blessed bundle is welcomed to the grid, re-welcomed into your heart and your family as yours forever.

From here on out, it’s all your thing, how you chose to interact with the new little bundle of joy, what you do with it, and how the child that it represents interacts with it. That’s one of the many amazing things about SL: there are so many ways to do the same thing that each experience that we have is unique in its own way, and different to everyone.

Now, maybe the above scenario doesn’t apply to everyone. That’s just the way that I feel when I decide to give birth to a child. I know a few who birth their children because they feel that it is a more “traditional” way of adding to the family, and bypass adoption completely. Some people adopt children to take the place of prim babies, and all this is fine, too. It’s your SL, and as long as you’re happy, your family’s happy, and you’re not harming anyone, live it up!

Maybe pregnancy RP isn’t your thing. That’s fine! Birthing your child is not something that has to be done to express to that child how much you love them. Never, ever feel obligated or forced to give birth to your children, or what’s the fun in that? You can birth 239032 kids, and never have a real connection with any one of them. The kind of connection that comes from roleplaying through a pregnancy, at least for me, is much deeper than the kind you find in any adoption agency (not that I’m knocking agencies, without them there’d be so, so many incomplete families). As someone who has been on both sides of the belly (as a child and an adult), I know the deep-seeded connections that it can bring to the parent(s) and child(ren) involved.

So now, maybe you’re thinking of giving birth to your special little one? If so, congrats! It’s a huge, wonderful, amazing commitment. Here are a few tips that might help things come together for you!

1. Talk it out. Whether you decide to give birth to one child at a time, or your whole little litter, communication is and always will be the most important tool that you as a parent can wield on the grid. Let your family know what you’re thinking about and why, answer any questions they might have as openly and honestly as possible, and try your best to eliminate any type of jealousy that may arise from anyone in the family, but hopefully that won’t be an issue.

2. Make a date. If everything’s still all good to go after the talking’s all done and done, then you’re ready to work on the when and how! Maybe you’d like a long pregnancy and a traditional birth. Plan ahead. Find clinics and pick your favorite (either for atmosphere or roleplay ability of the staff), find a good doctor who you feel comfortable with (because trust me, you’re gonna want to feel comfortable with whoever’s all up in your pixels), set a date for the actual labor/birth roleplay situation (one that works for everyone that you want to be present, or at least your immediate family and the to-be-birthed child) and keep your family involved every step of the way.

3. Don’t freak out! This one’s really important. Everyone does things their own way, and if you’re not doing this whole thing the exact same way that your neighbor or your best friend is, that’s cool. No worries. It’s your experience, so make it fun for you! Maybe you want an at-home, natural birth. Maybe you want a baby shower or maybe you want to keep the whole thing a surprise until it’s actually time. Any of these can be fun and creative if you make it that way.

I really hope this post has helped clear up some of the fog surrounding the whole “birth” confusion. A lot of people don’t get it, and still many won’t get it no matter how many time it’s explained to them. I can definitely say that it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t want to be born on SL, and some people don’t want to give birth. No one is at fault for that but I hope more people understand why some of us do like these things. It’s not a weird fetish, it’s not for anything other than helping to complete the circle of SLife.

As always, my inbox is always open for questions/comments, and have a wonderful day/evening! <3

Holiday Guide 2012

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Christmas time is fast-approaching! Are your kids as excited as mine are? The Holidays can be a warm, beautiful, hectic, messy, loving, amazing, and simply wonderful time, depending on how you handle them. In this blog are a few different tricks and tips to help you, the SL parent, make it through the season without selling the kids to the circus!

1. Schedule your holidays! I know it sounds strange, but yeah, it works. Schedule your holidays in advance (including holiday prep like picking out the tree and decorating the house if you choose to RP that), so that everyone knows when your family is going to do the big celebration. Though, I wouldn’t recommend scheduling your holiday on the actual day of whichever holiday you’re celebrating. (This blog focuses on Christmas mainly, since that’s the one that’s coming up!) For instance, if you schedule your Christmas celebration on December 25th, you’re probably going to lose your virtual family to their non-pixel family, just because it’s the day. Scheduling either a few days ahead or after the actual day will ultimately work well in your favor.

2. Decorations don’t have to be killer expensive! Really, I mean it! Don’t believe me? Check the marketplace! Stores like What Next, Lisp, and Trompe Loeil, all have decorations (even some mesh) for under or around 200L! Still don’t believe me? Have a look or yourself! And there are so many more, these are just some of my personal favorites or making my home and underneath the tree look pretty for the holidays. Sadly, I haven’t seen any to-die-for mesh Christmas trees just yet, but I’ll keep looking! And I’ll keep everyone up to date on what I find!

3. Do your shopping ahead of time. This one should come as a “duh” for a lot of parents out there, but it’s really important that you get things done ahead of time. And if you’re having trouble thinking of things that your kids might want, have them write a Christmas list and/or a letter to Santa Claus! And then yo and Santa have a little convo, and decide if your kids have been good enough for their favorite Christmas list items.

4. Double-box your gifts! Guys, I’m not sure I can stress this enough. DOUBLE. BOX. ALL THE THINGS! Oivey! So, if you don’t know this by now, when right-clicking on a prim in Second Life, you are able to quickly look into the contents of that prim and see what they are. How does this translate to gift-wrapping? Well, say you have a couple of nosy little snoopers who just cannot wait to see what Santa brought them for Christmas. Now, if you’re like me, you like to have your gifts under the tree a couple of days before, just to have them out of your inventory and to make the space around your tree look pretty. Now, that’s all fine and dandy until you get those little snoopers of yours poking around the boxes that they think are theirs, and peeking into the contents, totally ruining any surprises that mommy and/or daddy had for Christmas morning! No fun! So yes, when boxing your Christmas gifts, don’t be stingy with the boxes. Place the box containing the actual present inside of a new box, and set it down beneath the tree for pretty box decor that does not wreck the surprise!

I hope these tips help make your holidays run a little bit smoother. If you have any tips you’d like to share or any questions you’d like to ask, feel free to submit them on my Ask Me page! My inbox is always open. <3

Happy Holidays from the Republic Family to yours!

Why a Second Life Parent?

Well, why not? Why anything in SL? Because we can. Second Life is a world made by us, for us, to do with what we want. Lots of people want lots of different things. Now, while this entire article is mainly my opinion and my own personal feelings and experiences, I do believe that what I have to say may match the mindset of many.

A little while ago, there was a great  article written by Marianne McCann, a Second Life resident and child avatar, about why people may chose to play child avatars in SL. She made several very valid points. And it’s in this article that I can also see several reasons why people may decide to parent SL children.

Maybe this is something you’ve never thought about. I have to admit that until starting this blog, it wasn’t the foremost thought in my mind. But I also know I didn’t just one day wake up and say “I wonder if I can bring one of those short people I saw at that store home with me!” The choice to become a virtu-mommy (or virtu-daddy) comes differently to everyone. For me, I was ready for a change in my SL and a new adventure. I got exactly what I was looking for.

Some people just want the experience. I have to say that of all the experiences that I’ve had since coming to SL 3 years ago (and there have been plenty), being a virtu-mommy is one of the most challenging and rewarding that I’ve had, unlike any other. Role playing takes on a whole different light when you make the decision to dive into the family community, at least it did for me. And trust me when I say, going from medieval fantasy RP to full-time mommy mode was a big culture shock. But it was also one that I would not change for anything.

I am by no means saying that we all think or role play the same way. There are some more dedicated to strictly PG, family only, realistic role play, 24/7. Others are much more relaxed, letting connections flow into activities into bonding into familial ties. And still others just enjoy having a group of people to “hang out” with and call “family”. But there are so many aspects to the family community, nothing is cut-and-dry. And underneath those aspects are subsets of people and groups that make the entire process work. There’s sort of a collective mindset here, shared by those who wish to have a safe, happy environment to role play out what makes them happy. When familial ties are formed in SL, despite the drama and the hurt that may come with them, those ties are there.

On a more serious side of things, sharing a last name with a person does not make you their “parent”. It’s a mind-set, a way that you look at all situations between you and the person (or people) that you are promising to love and care for. When someone trusts you as their Second Life parent, that person is trusting you with their inner child. It’s a responsibility that should never be taken lightly or for granted. Not to make everything sound all drab and hard and scary, but people are vulnerable, they just are. And just like real life children, the people that you trust (trust goes both ways here if I didn’t mention that) to be the child to your parent are trusting you to be the parent to their inner child. No matter the age difference or similarities, the family activities or how you spend time together, when you make that commitment, it’s made.

Some people undertake this responsibility and discover that it’s not for them. While that sucks for all involved, it’s better that they figure that out and begin to live their SL how they were meant to live it. For those, like myself, who decide to work through the heartaches and the ups and downs because it’s what we want to do, parenting in Second Life can be rewarding like no other type of role play experience.

So, why become a Second Life parent? Because people want children. Because some people want childhoods and those people need to be cared for and protected and the parents are those who do that protecting. Because people want genuine, deeply bonded relationships. Why have families in SL? Well, because we want them! I’m sure there are more reasons. If I missed some that you’d like to see talked about, or you’d like your personal reasons highlighted, submit to my Ask Me page, or leave a comment!

As always, my inbox is always open! <3

And, here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen (but I’m assuming mostly ladies), welcome to the madness! This here blog is to help you all navigate your way through those sticky situations that will no doubt arise while rearing your SL children and preparing them to grow and flourish in this crazy world that so many are calling home.

As a disclaimer, let me state that I am in no way claiming to be an expert on SL families or the inner workings of individual families, but as a virtual mother who wishes she’d had someone to give this kind of advice when I was getting started, here I am to help those who need it!

My inbox is always open for anyone who needs a shoulder or an ear or an encouraging word, and no worries, all interactions remain completely anonymous (or even completely private if requested.) So, don’t be shy! Tell me what you’d like to hear/read about coming up soon! I hope everyone enjoys this blog and I’m always open to suggestions and feedback. <3

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