Hear Me Roar

Something this past week lit a fire within me to express myself about how society’s perceptions of motherhood are unrealistic. Yet if one is brave enough to raise your voice loud enough others will judge you for having your own mind. Motherhood and life are a messy business.

Motherhood is the most challenging experience that I have had in the past two months. The time that I spend with my son, Dylan, is by far the most rewarding and challenging. You learn a great deal about yourself and what you are passionate about once you become a parent. I am become even more willing to express myself since my son was born as I realized that I could do far more than I thought.

Most of my adult life I have been dealing with both post traumatic stress disorder and depression. I have gained a lot of wisdom and much healthier coping strategies over the years. Mental illness does not make a person into an unfit parent, or a person who is less deserving of happiness. Our society does not encourage mothers to seek help for post partum depression, and many mothers fear judgement for asking for help.

Society says that we should be able to handle motherhood on our own without the help of family, our partners, or even outside assistance. Media portrayals of motherhood are far from accurate. What we believe and expect of ourselves as mothers is complete and utter bullshit! Our speed of lightening society doesn’t give anyone the right to breathe and try to do things differently. It may make me unpopular or even a bit of a rebel, but I choose to speak of my own experiences honestly. If someone doesn’t like how I express myself or who I am then that is their problem; not mine. As Katy Perry sings, “Hear me roar!”

Amanda

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Poster Girl

This evening I decided to depart from my regular viewing habits of watching a movie or catching up on a television series on Netflix. I found the documentary “Poster Girl” that aired on HBO in November 2011. This documentary follows Robynn Murray, a veteran, who works to reclaim her humanity as she overcomes post traumatic stress disorder. Robynn is very candid about what the experience of post traumatic stress disorder can be like. She has spoken about her experiences before other veterans and the public to raise awareness. The documentary is unflinching and can be very graphic, but the topic requires this brutal honesty.

Amanda

Finding a Safe Haven

Nicholas Sparks is one of my favourite authors, and I also greatly enjoy his films based on his novels. One of the ways that I relax is to take a few hours to watch a good movie. “Safe Haven” was a film that I greatly enjoyed, because the movie is about second chances that come from finding love in an unexpected place. The character of Katie carries a dark secret that causes her to leave everything that she knows, but the unexpected happens when she develops a bond with Alex, a widower, who has two children. The film appeals to me probably, because even if you have been through something there is always a chance for a new beginning.

Amanda

Breastfeeding and Being a Rape or Sexual Abuse Survivor

Breastfeeding and Being a Rape or Sexual Abuse Survivor

Here in Canada, most healthcare providers are very pro-breastfeeding and there is a lot of great information out there on the many reasons why it is good for both the health of the mother and her baby. For some mothers, myself included, we have an extra consideration when it comes to whether we choose to try to breastfeed or not. A few of the issues faced by survivors are some of the recent ones that I have been struggling with, while trying to breastfeed. This article is informative, and gives an accurate picture of what a survivor may struggle with when trying to breastfeed or being okay with the choice even not to do so. Whatever a mother chooses no one else has the right to judge if her choice is meant to keep her and her baby healthy.

Amanda

Still in the Oven

It appears that my child is enjoying the Jacuzzi tub and free buffet meals in my womb. This is wonderful that he or she finds it comfortable in there, but it will be nice to finally meet the new arrival. Today is July 26th, which is now two days past my due date. I am feeling an odd mixture of amusement, anxiety, and frustration as I haven’t given birth yet. The last couple of week of pregnancy can be trying for most women at the best of times as we feel uncomfortable and anxious.

Well meaning family and friends keep asking so when is the baby arriving? My most common answer is either when the child decides he or she is ready to come out, or when my doctor will induce me on July 31st. Inducing labour is normally only done when the mother and baby are both about a week past the due date, or there is a risk to both the mother and child. Thankfully, I am blessed that both myself and the gummy bear are healthy.

Not having control over my body is a very new situation for me that lately has tested my patience. No first time mother knows how labour will go, so my anxiety has been a little higher than usual. This anxiety combined with pregnancy hormones at their height is making life interesting at the moment. I am not feeling like myself at the moment when I swing between frustration and feeling so emotional.

The lesson I am learning from this experience is how in most situations it is important to surrender control to a higher power over the potential outcome, and to be patient as well as compassionate with myself. Laughing at myself when hormones cause me to feel out of sorts is one way to cope with their wackiness. Sometimes you learn the most about yourself when you don’t feel like who you are normally. My life experiences have caused me to be self-aware of who I am, as well as, what most of my quirks are. By this I mean that you learn what your limits are, and how you cope when they are pushed.

Once you start to heal from the aftermath of trauma there are aspects of the experience that can be blessings. Wisdom can come from experiencing brokenness. One thing I realized recently is that I need to be physically rested to self regulate my mood. In the third trimester it can become much harder to find a comfortable sleeping position as the baby bump and various pregnancy symptoms make it much harder to sleep well. Making time for a nap during the day, and keeping a perspective that the sleep deprivation during the night is temporary help to cope with this. I have had to deal with insomnia before, so I am prepared for the sleep deprivation that comes with having a newborn.

Well, I hope that all of you have a wonderful day. If you are in your last trimester of pregnancy then you most certainly have my empathy. It can be trying towards the end when you are anticipating your new arrival.

Amanda

Contradictory Skin

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first child with me being at 39 weeks and still counting. Pregnancy does some interesting things to your worldview, to your mind and even to your body. Nine months doesn’t seem like a very long period of time. A lot can happen over the course of nine months. In some ways, I am more comfortable being myself than I was before I am facing the prospect of motherhood. In other aspects, I am starting to realize that I still have some healing to do when it comes to coping with my past.

On Monday, I had a prenatal appointment with my OB/Gyn who is monitoring my pregnancy. Sleep towards the end of pregnancy can be elusive at best. As a mother to be it can be hard to get physically comfortable, your bladder may need to be emptied multiple times in one night, and your brain becomes overactive with the fears surrounding motherhood. The night before my appointment I slept maybe a total of four hours. My doctor had to conduct an internal exam, which most of the time would be unpleasant yet something I could easily cope with. This time I didn’t find it so easy to cope with someone having to enter my intimate personal space. I managed to soothe myself afterwards, but being triggered is not something that happens too often these days. Point is that no matter how much healing I have done; being a survivor is always going to have an impact on my life whether I like it or not. The desire for a healthy baby has helped a great deal in coping with my discomfort.

Handling a trigger can be a mysterious thing at times. What may set me off can also be surprising. I have personal issues with being touched by someone who I don’t know that well even if the reason is a good one. Now a nurse or a doctor when I go into labour will check how much I am dilated to decide what interventions if any are necessary. Most health care providers have been good enough to tell me before they do an examination, or initiate a medical procedure to tell me what they are doing. This communication helps me to mentally prepare myself to stop my anxiety from escalating. Truthfully, I am a little scared about what may happen when I go into labour, but I also know that I am a strong woman and women have been giving birth to healthy babies for thousands of years.

Earlier today reflected one way in, which my comfort being in my own skin has changed. I have times when I feel pretty good about my body even though I have a large baby bump. My sister and I decided to go swimming at a local pool to try to beat the heat and humidity. The only swimsuit that fits me at the moment was my bikini. The bikini is blue with black tiger stripes, and not what I normally would wear. It’s strange when you realize that your body is healthy and strong enough to carry life then you develop a greater love for it. I NEVER would have worn a bikini at a public pool or beach in my twenties. Reason for this is I didn’t feel confident in my own skin back then.

In my process of growing I feel like I can accept certain aspects of myself very easily, while others still need a little bit more love and acceptance. I suppose that is the contradictory nature of being in my own skin. It is a continual growth process that I am enjoying even when I bump up against those moments of discomfort. Life is about growth and change. It would be boring if we did not learn.

 

Cracked?

“Cracked,” a Canadian police drama became available on Netflix earlier this month, and I ended up watching the whole first season over the course of a few days. I am very picky about what television series I watch for a variety of reasons. I may tune in for a couple of episodes then find neither the characters or the development of the story are compelling enough to keep me tuned in.

“Cracked” is a Canadian police drama that offers the viewer something very different. Aiden Black, played by David Sutcliffe, is a very interesting character as he is both a cop and coping with post traumatic stress disorder. Over the course of the series you watch how he copes with trauma that he has experienced, as well as the effects, it has on his relationships, career, and the way that he approaches cases. He is one member of a team that specializes in investigating crimes of a psychological nature. The other characters of Leo Beckett, Dr. Daniella Ripley, Poppy Winsett, and Inspector Diane Caligra all have a depth to them, which makes them very interesting.

The cast in this video discusses a bit more about the series, and tells a little bit about their characters. “Cracked” is worth watching episodes on Netflix Canada, or if you are located in Canada via:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/Cracked/

Hope that you will check out the television series if you have an interest in something unique or enjoy psychology.

Amanda