Archive for October, 2007

Down the rabbit hole

The meds seem to have kicked in a teensy bit and I’m starting to feel a little better already, even though I’m not to expect any real progress for “one to four weeks” according to the packaging material.  I am, however, experiencing the side effects full on.  I have waves of a little catch in my throat like I could puke, which is quite like the experience of morning sickness if any of you have experienced that.  My arms feel sort of floaty and almost like the blood running through them is chilled.  I also am experiencing scattered thinking, medicine-head brain numbness, lost appetite, and a desire to sleep more than normal.  Oh, wait - those last things were there before the chemicals invaded my brain.

This weekend as is our usual custom, Rich and I went grocery shopping together while we dropped the kids off at the store’s free childcare.  Usually this time is a little mini-date for us - we goof around up and down the aisles and get to talk uninterrupted by Mommy I Wants and Daddy She Hit Mes.  This time I was not in any state to pal around, and as Rich placed items into the cart (items which he had to list and plan for himself), I floated around the store with a flat expression.  I may as well been moaning, drooling on myself and dragging my knuckles, it was so bad.  Who needs a Halloween costume when you already look straight out of something in Shaun of the Dead?  Later that night when I was feeling better, I made a joke about it and the two of us had a good laugh.  I suppose you might as well laugh instead of cry.  It was sorely needed.

The doc told me to keep involved in my daily activities - to make a list if I have to (list? I can do lists!)  and then carry it out.  “You sound like my husband,”  I said to him.  “But it’s easier to hear it from a doctor.”  Chuckle, chuckle.  Earlier in the week, in fact, I had snapped at Rich for suggesting several times that I just need to get out, exercise, and generally get myself involved in my life again.  He asked me what he can do to help.  “Stop saying things like that - that would help me!  If I was capable of exercising I would have been doing it already!”  It hurt him pretty badly considering how sincerely he was asking.

So I am trying to get back into life.  I’ll be walking for exercise again (starting tomorrow), and I’m actually doing the dishes and picking up the house, even though I’m not up to cleaning it outright just yet.  Besides, Rich cleaned it yesterday.  Have I mentioned how much I love him lately?  Well I do.  Even in this fog, I can appreciate how much I have and am thankful for in my life - stable finances, generally good health, and most importantly true love of my amazing husband and children.  With all this going for me, there is no reason I won’t be able to pick my knuckles off the ground, wipe the drool off my face and walk onward.

Welcome to the darkness. Population: me

So…I think I have some apologizing to do.

I’m obsessing over some of the things I wrote in my “chicken” post.  It reads as if I don’t love my friends - or that I need everyone to be the same person as me.  Actually, not everyone has to share everything in common with me to be my friend.  I’m realizing that the fact that I might be quite a bit different than some of my friends and they love me anyway is a really big compliment.  This isn’t to say that I shouldn’t seek out friends who I might share commonalities with.  But I shouldn’t stop loving the friends I have, either.

I’ve been bad lately about keeping up with friends.  I’ve avoided spending time with people I love. As it turns out, over the past few weeks/months, that little girl self-loathing voice has gotten bigger and bigger.  I’m spending much too much time checked out of life, parenting with only the least of effort.  I’m spending a lot of time worried about things I’ve said and didn’t say; things I’ve done and didn’t do and wondering if I’ve made the right decisions.  And I’ve come to worry about myself.

I’m in a dark hole, and it’s not the first time this has happened.  Rich and I have counted at least five times that I’ve fell into a hole like this.  Back when I was in the light, I told myself that next time it happened (and I knew enough to say that it would happen again), I would go see someone.  So I did.  I took the little quiz, the doctor added up my numbers, and he said, “Well.  You are DEFINITELY depressed.”  Like I didn’t know that from the way I’ve treated some of the people I love the most.  Depression, as the commercials say, hurts everyone.  And ironically I’ve begun taking the meds that that commercial advertises.  A anti-anxiety pill at night.  Uppers and downers.  I’m not a pill person, but even I can see that something needs to be done.

I’ve gone back and forth about blogging about this.  I know a few friends read this and a few family members and I hope they take this at face value only.  I don’t write about this to attention-seek, or to make anyone feel bad or sad or sorry for me.  (And no, the thought of suicide is NOT crossing my mind and it never has or will so don’t everyone all don’t freak on me, okay?)  I blog about it because maybe in my deep dark hole something good can come from me feeling so awful.

War: a 4-year-old’s perspective

Connor: Why are the people fighting on the other side of the world?

Me: It’s really complicated, but people fight wars for all kinds of silly reasons. Like who is bigger or better, or what God is like.

Connor: What do you mean people fight about what God is like?

Me: Well, it’s kind of like one group of people thinks God is pink and one group thinks God is purple. That’s not it exactly, but it is that silly really.

Connor: I think God wears red pants with a blue shirt!

Me: You can think God is like whatever you want to, sweetie. I kind of think of God as all of the love of everything in the world all at one place. That means that God lives inside you, too, where your love is.

Connor: Mommy, why do people fight about God? God wouldn’t want us to hurt each other.

Good question, kid. I wish I had an answer.

Perhaps it was premature for us to remove the babyproofing thingies after all

Daddy:  Connor, what is this doing in your room?

Connor: That’s the thing that lights up when you plug it in!

Mommy (to Daddy):  Oh my gosh…it’s all charred…

Daddy:  And the lights aren’t working either.  He must have blown a fuse.

I’ll probably get flack for saying this, but this is simultaneously horribly frightening and quite funny to me.  Needless to say we had a very serious talk about electricity and about getting into drawers he shouldn’t.  Also I’ll be going through my children’s rooms in great detail later today.

All I can say is thank God our corn cob holders are rubberized.

Pretending I’m famous for 15 minutes

Dan from Cafe Leone tagged anyone in his blogroll that hadn’t done the “Inside the Actors Studio” meme - the one that you answer Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire.  I might be one of the only people in the world who truly loves that show.  I wonder if it is still on the air?

As an aside, don’t you hate it when the actors pretend that they have to think about their answers to these questions?  Like they didn’t have them picked out weeks, or possibly years, before.  Is it just an excuse to do a little acting?

1. What is your favorite word?
I have to pick just one?  How about autodidact?

2. What is your least favorite word?

Frothy.  It is hard to say and usually refers to something disgusting.  My mouth even feels like it gets all frothy trying to say it.  That, or satchel.  Just ask my mom for the backstory on that one.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
When people naturally seek out and find the goodness in humanity and themselves.

4. What turns you off?

Racism, homophobia, sexism, and jokes at anyone else’s expense.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
I don’t swear often - but am known to curse when I really need to get my point across.  There is something about a female blond pacifist dropping the f-bomb in a business meeting.  It gets results.

6. What sound or noise do you love?
My father used to say, “Listen. Did you hear that kids?  Quieter.  Yes, there it is.  The sound of nothing.  Isn’t it the best sound you have ever heard?”  We thought he was just weird.  At this point in my life, I tend to agree with him.  If I had to pick an actual sound, it would have to be the breeze blowing through some tall evergreens.  In a quiet forest.  Do you see a theme here?

7. What sound or noise do you hate?
“Play the drum, everyone, play the drum!”

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Midwifery.  I bet you never saw that one coming…

9. What profession would you not like to do?
I hope I never have to go back to my former life in marketing communications.  Writing, strategizing (is that a word? Strategery!)  and creating for the sole purpose of making people buy something does not make my soul feel good.  You are especially good at marketing if you can get people to buy something they wouldn’t actually desire had you have not done your job.

In the news: breasts and other boobs

Read the Artful Flower’s inspired essay on breastfeeding and censorship here.

And watch the tyranny” - however you may wish to interpret it.  The details of events are spelled out - I highly recommend a viewing online.

Out of the mouths of babes

Me: Wait a second, Connor. There’s a sticker on the bottom of your new shoes that I need to peel off.
Connor: What does it say?
Me: It says, “Non-marking shoe sole.”
Connor: What’s a non-marking asshole?

The jokes just make themselves here, don’t they?

Siena: (looking at my shirt) You give shirt to Aunt Anne?
Me: No. It’s mine. I think I’ll keep it.
Siena: You take off and wear this one? (Pointing to my tank top underneath)
Me: No thanks. I think I’d like to keep my shirt on.
Siena: Why? It’s not pretty.

Keep in mind she’s two. I think I’m going to have my hands full with this one…

A perfect day

Rich is out of town for a few days, deep in the Northern Alberta wilderness, staring up at endless starry skies, and shooting things.  It’s just the kids and me.

I’ve been feeling plenty guilty lately on how much time I spend on the computer or on my various jobs (I’ve added fitting leg braces to surgery patients as a part-time job in addition to my doula work), so yesterday I used Rich’s absence as an excuse to begin to rectify that.

We started our morning at the Mall with Grandma.  A book, a game and two new pairs of shoes later we left and met Aunt Anne and Cousin Sophia for lunch.  Red Robin of course.

After lunch we took advantage of the crisp cool blue sunny day and raked leaves.  I raked and the kids jumped.  Every kid should jump in at least one pile of leaves in their lifetime.  We checked that one off the list.

Then it was time to go for a visit to the library.  While the kids “played chess”, I scrambled around finding appropriate reading materials.  A book about jokes since Connor’s made up knock-knock jokes could use a bit of professional inspiration.  A book about bees that might soften Connor’s experience of being stung by one earlier this summer.  A copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends for some laughs.  Plenty of Seuss - the Butter Battle Book (which discusses the pointlessness of war - Connor’s been asking questions) and a few easy readers like Hop on Pop and One Fish Blue Fish.  Finally we picked up a few videos - Siena picked out Cat in the Hat, Connor picked out The Emperor’s New Groove 2, and I grabbed two yoga videos for me and one for the kids.

After the library, the kids and I did our usual tradition when Daddy is away.  We ate out at the local buffet.  For the price of McDonald’s, we can have a plate of food that resembles a home cooked meal that they get to pick out themselves.  The seniors who eat there are always complimentary with the kids’ manners.  Also Connor loves hearing all the Spanish speakers there and we discussed his mucho grande leche chocolato at length with much laughter.

A balanced diet and healthful food is NOT one of the things we were working on yesterday, obviously.  But I guess I can’t be the food nazi every day.

Last night after watching the videos, we cuddled up on the couch and I got to listen to Connor sound out a few of his first words.  Afterward, we learned about the difference between pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars.  I’ll have to teach him about pounds and pesos and yen and such another day.

While tucking Siena into bed, her little eyes closed for the day during nighttime prayers.

So my goal this week while Rich is away is for me to spend more quality time like this, teaching and being taught; loving and being loved.

Alright - gotta go.  I’ve used up my “screen time” today.


Recently through a series of serendipitous clicks, I came across a group of blogs owned by women that I believe live in my town.  They seem to be friends and believe in many of the philosophies and principles and dreams that I believe.  I have no idea who these women are by name or face.  But I do know that they are introspective, loving, brave, REAL women.  And it makes me sad.  Sad because I don’t know them.  (I’m not going to share links here because I share where I live and as far as I can tell on their blogs they do not.)

I’ve always used blogging as a way of connecting to people who have similar minds and ideals to me as in my actual life this is sorely lacking.  I have mentioned that where I live I feel quite isolated philosophically.  This place is conservative; I am liberal.  This place is religious; I am spiritual.  They are literal where I am figurative.  This place is a dry wasteland and I mourn the loss of green and growth and water and earth and life between my fingers and toes.

The funny thing is that on the surface I tend to blend in here.  We have plenty of friends - good friends whom I dearly love - but most who I have very little in common with truly.  I just keep it on the surface with them and everything is okay.  I wear makeup and curl my hair to look somewhat “normal”.  I don’t discuss politics or religion or my somewhat attachment parenting ways like a good citizen.  But I only wear makeup because I’m afraid of showing my true face, flaws and beauty and all.  I rarely discuss controversial subjects because I’m afraid they’ll burn me at the stake if I told them what I really think.   When I do share a part of me, I let my friends mock my attempts at environmentalism and political justice and anti-consumerism and at, well, the core of who I am, and I laugh along with them.  I feel that if I just got out of my own way, I could shine.

But I am afraid.

Fear, I realize, dominates my flaws in my life.  I rarely attempt to make new friendships or fix broken relationships for fear of rejection.  The little girl voice in the back of my head stops me.  She’s the one that was picked last in sports teams.  She remembers sitting on her three-speed at the top of the neighborhood hill with a tear-streaked face while her friend walked across the street to play with their other friend, right after she had she had mad up some lie and told me I needed to go home.  The voice tells me, “Sure, you seem normal for a little while, but watch what happens when people get to know you better.”

I’m even afraid in God’s rejection.  Back in high school, I became obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t baptised.  My family had chosen to let me make my own decision religion and wanted me to make that choice as an adult.  (A choice I thank them for.)  But I couldn’t help believing that clean water could wash me of all my flaws and make me whole and good.  I didn’t get baptised to be able to marry my Catholic husband in the church as many people believe - I did it because I was afraid if I didn’t I would suffer - now and for eternity, I suppose.

As it turns out, I still suffer even though I’ve been washed clean.  I’m afraid to admit to friends or family that it doesn’t matter to me one iota of Jesus really was the Son of God or what the Bible says about doing this or not doing that.  I’m afraid to admit that while yes, I do believe in a higher power because I can hear it, sense it, and am part of it, I am a lot more spiritual than truly religious.  I’m afraid to stand up for much of what I believe about the evils of war or the joy of unhindered birth or the beauty in any kind of real love between two people - or take action besides blogging here where nobody reads or cares - because I don’t want people to see the me that I think will turn them off.

After coming to these conclusions about myself and fear, I made myself do a brave thing.  I put myself out there and am feeling quite exposed.  I left a comment or two on those blogs of the women in my town.  Will they think I am some kind of weird freakish stalker (I’m not) or desperate (I might be)?  Will they find me interesting? Boring? Self-indulgent?  Afraid?  Pitiful?  (God, this post certainly is.)  Will they find me at all?  Can I find me?

I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying with all of my heart.

What is natural childbirth anyway?

Most people who subscribe to a midwifery model of care aspire to natural childbirth.  This term has become quite problematic, however.  It used to be clear - a woman who had a natural childbirth did so without pain medication.  But what about fetal monitoring - is that natural?  What if it is intermittent?  How about an IV?  If Mom is GBS positive?  Can a woman who wants a natural childbirth give birth in a hospital?  If she is at home, can she have a midwife present?  What about a friend or family member there to assist her?

Let’s go even deeper.  Women in certain world communities often have very poor chances for a healthy pregnancy, due to poor sanitary conditions, no antenatal care and prevalence of disease.  If we immunize these women, is that natural childbirth?  What about if we clean up their water supply, making their drinking water separate from their latrine?

Because of the squishy term of natural childbirth, many birth professionals and birthing women have started to use the term “unmedicated childbirth”.  I find this term great for women who have made it through childbirth without drugs- they are proud of the accomplishment, and rightly so. For some women, experiencing a drug-free birth can be a profound rite of passage that can open doors in many areas of their life, immediately and years down the road.  They learn they can do anything.

But what about the women who plan a birth with very few interventions (to lessen risks to themselves and to their baby) but did feel that they needed pain medication?  Don’t they deserve bragging rights too?  Some women who are rape or sexual abuse survivors decide that they cannot go through childbirth in pain and in a birth trance for fear of triggering painful memories when the occasion should be filled with joy.  Is it not a brave choice they are making if they choose an epidural or a cesarean birth to mitigate what could have been a horrifying experience?  How about the women who plan an unmedicated birth but go hours and hours through a tiring labor and never progress past 1 or 2 centimeters, and have to make the tough choice to see if an epidural can relax them enough to progress and thus avoid a cesarean birth?  What about women who have serious medical risks and they feel they are taking less risk for their baby if they make the decision to have an induction?

I’d like to propose a new definition to the term “natural childbirth”.  Natural childbirth is doing anything that comes naturally TO YOU during birth.  There are requirements - you must deeply explore and really listen to what your needs and desires are for birth, and do the work to understand where any fears are coming from, release the fears if possible and mitigate them if not.  You must get answers to your questions and weigh your risks diligently including whatever personal needs you might have.  You must stand up for your Self during birth with whatever attendants you chose if necessary.  You must be open to change and whatever the experience of birth brings you.  And you must come to peace with whatever decisions you made in the moment of your birth, and realize that even if you might do things differently later, you did the best with what education and information you had at the time.  And you cannot - absolutely cannot - tell another woman that the choices you made for you are the only choices she should make for her.

Even with all the statistics and studies laid out in front of them, a highly medicalized childbirth might be natural to one woman.  Nothing less than unassisted childbirth might be natural to another.  We don’t know all the reasons they need to make the decisions they need to make - only that they need to be the ones to make them.
So.  midwives, doula sisters, obstetricians, and most of all, women — let’s just all get along, okay?  Let’s do what comes natural and love and support each other and the women we serve.

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