I wrote this for Mother’s Day because of how the leak happened just days before the holiday. As we anticipate the Supreme Court’s dismantling of Roe vs. Wade and severely limiting abortion access, I want to share it here and hope you will all read and share my abortion story.
For a pregnant person without financial means, abortion costs are already a hardship. My father threw me out of the house shortly after my high school graduation. It was 1993, and I lived in a northern Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati.
As we head into the season on gratitude and giving, I wanted to focus my columns on what it meant for our community and for ourselves. I hope you enjoy reading this four-part series and reflecting on what this means for you. All four columns linked below.
Be the Helper You Need To See in the World
Whether it’s in friendship or community, it’s hard, satisfying work for which nothing is owed and no one has to earn. It’s our humanity. This season of gratitude and joy let’s say “yes” to the work that needs doing and discover the helper within. Read the column HERE.
Volunteering Helps Both the Community and the Volunteer
There’s also some science to the idea of helping oneself by helping others. Snyder’s research showed that those who volunteer long-term don’t stay for altruistic reasons alone; they keep going back because they see the benefits in their own lives. Read the column HERE.
How Cultivating Your Purpose Begins With Knowing Yourself
How we react, overcome and persevere is intrinsically tied to our sense of purpose and it turns out that purpose is tied to how well we know ourselves. Burrow says it this way: “We might start to think of identity as sort of a foundational layer of self-understanding that when you are equipped with a sense of identity, you might stand a chance at figuring out and cultivating your sense of purpose.”
Purpose is a life aim, something that’s always in front of you and never quite finished. It’s different from a goal. Purpose is connected to our well-being and provides stability. Read the column HERE.
It’s OK to gush with gratitude, so let the love flow
The more thank-you cards I wrote the easier it became, and I noticed a shift. Something was happening internally. I stopped using a script and I started just writing in real-time. It shifted from a practice to sending something truly heartfelt. I could feel the gratitude radiating from me as I wrote. A big smile would form on my face, and sometimes I would well up with tears. My gratitude was deep and real, and though I had felt gratitude before, writing it out by hand for my intended recipient helped me feel it in full. Read the whole column HERE
“As a teenager, I frequently walked to St. Stephen Cemetery after school to sit by my mom’s headstone. She died in a car accident when I was seven and I didn’t confront what that meant for me until adolescence.
“A local cemetery frequently hosts events and entertainment in their space, and it didn’t sit with me well at first. It seemed flip. Disrespectful at the least. An exploitation of death at worst. It bothered me and I had questions. Luckily, I knew just who to ask.
“Cole Imperi is not only a friend but a leader in the death community. She’s a thanatologist, an expert on death and dying, and she is the president of the Board of Overseers for Historic Linden Grove Cemetery & Arboretum in Covington, Kentucky. Imperi helped me understand what I was missing. When a historic cemetery can no longer perform burials because they are full, how does the cemetery afford the maintenance and management of an expansive graveyard that’s over 175 years old?”
Read the whole column at the link below:
How Cemeteries Get Creative to Survive in Their Role of Caring for the Dead, by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
As a teenager, I frequently walked to St. Stephen Cemetery after school to sit by my mom’s headstone.
These three columns focus on nature in the fall. How squirrels play an important roll in planting oak trees, how lazy gardeners are good for mother nature and why goldenrod doesn’t deserve its bad rap. Help pollinators overwinter by putting down your rakes and letting your garden look like a bit of a mess.
Fall nature series:
Enjoying Fall Colors? Thank a Squirrel, by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
As a gardener who also likes to feed the birds, I have a love-hate relationship with squirrels. They dig up flower bulbs, steal my birdseed and bury nuts in my herb box.
Prepare Your Garden for Winter by Leaving It Alone, by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
It’s tempting to want to tidy up your garden now that blossoms are starting to fade. Dry flower stalks and leaf litter look unsightly, so why not prepare the bed for winter’s blanket of snow? We see the city’s reminders for yard waste pickup and think it’s time to hack it all to the ground, scoop i…
Why Goldenrod Doesn’t Deserve Its Bad Rap, by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Cooler weather has finally arrived here in the Midwest. It’s time for trips to your favorite pumpkin patch, u-pick apple orchard and corn maze.
“Last week, a Washington mom made news by getting kicked out of a restaurant for breastfeeding her infant son. Women need support, not judgement, and certainly not shame when feeding their babies. The restaurant owner made a bad situation worse when responding to the family’s online review, “Be like decent people not like animals, there are places for everything and this place is not to breastfeed your children.”
“The science supports that “breast is best,” but what we don’t talk about is that the most common deterrent from breastfeeding is lack of support.”
Read the full column below
Breastfeeding Moms Need Support to Succeed, by Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Last week, a Washington mom made news by getting kicked out of a restaurant for breastfeeding her infant son. Women need support, not judgement, and certainly not shame when feeding their babies.
Teaching a class of 25-plus kids requires some uniformity and consistency in expectations for the day to run smoothly. Why then, are people advocating for “parent’s choice” when it comes to school mask mandates?
Read the full column linked below
Opinion: Parent choice for masks isn’t helpful in the classroom
A mask is a school supply, like a #2 pencil and a water bottle.
So many things in the press recently have come with a mental health cry for our children. Mask mandates, Critical Race Theory, Transgender rights… “Our poor children.”
In this back-to-school mental heath series I take a look at what the mental health issues of back-to-school really are, with the help of a few mental health experts along the way. Below, is the result. Both in a 50-minute podcast and four short columns. I hope you’ll listen, read and share.
Thank you Dr. Dan Peters for inviting me on the Parent Footprint Podcast to talk about my back-to-school mental health series. Listen to it here or at the link below.
Dr. Dan talks to award-winning columnist Bonnie Jean Feldkamp about her new three part Back To School series which focuses on therapy, mental wellness, parenting mistakes, adolescent milestones, masks, and more. Bonnie passionately believes that prioritizing mental health is even more important than other Back To School essentials like backpacks, new sneakers, and haircuts.
Read the Back-to-School Mental Health Columns
Unmasking Support for Mental Health in School
If you are pro-mental health of kids or pro-suicide prevention, then you should consider supporting policies that benefit youth mental health across the board. Read More…
Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones
Though I didn’t have a pandemic to contend with, I saw my bright, talented kid struggling and wanted the best for her. But taking a “timeout” for mental health seemed like it would just add to her hardships down the road. Read More…
Therapy Is a Valuable Parenting Resource
Vulnerability requires courage, and parents should cultivate trust and create a safe space for their children to be vulnerable in both good and challenging times. Creating emotional equity in regular conversations that prioritizes mental health and normalizes talking about our feelings will help diffuse some of the shame that society has attached to psychological wellness. Read More…
Making Peace with Parenting Mistakes
I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone perfect. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every choice my parents made for me. My goal was to do better than my parents, but it turns out I’m not any better; I’m just different. Now that I’m older and have children of my own, I do understand more, but I’m also trying to understand it from both ends. Read More…
“Conversations with my daughter revealed that she feels some of my parenting choices have even caused her lasting damage. I love my children, but love doesn’t make anyone perfect. I know my intentions, but I also know that I still don’t agree with every choice my parents made for me. My goal was to do better than my parents, but it turns out I’m not any better; I’m just different. Now that I’m older and have children of my own, I do understand more, but I’m also trying to understand it from both ends.”
Making Peace with Parenting Mistakes, by
My daughter is 21 and living on her own, and my son just started kindergarten. Recently, we were all in the car together, and she witnessed a reaction to my son’s behavior.
“Vulnerability requires courage, and parents should cultivate trust and create a safe space for their children to be vulnerable in both good and challenging times. Creating emotional equity in regular conversations that prioritizes mental health and normalizes talking about our feelings will help diffuse some of the shame that society has attached to psychological wellness.”
Mental Health Matters More Than Adolescent Milestones, by
My daughter was a junior in high school when her therapist called me into her office. I bounced my toddler on my knee and tried to absorb what the therapist was saying.