Not Always Mind Over Matter

Not Always Mind Over Matter

Anxiety

In this fast pace world we live in with all the opportunities available; and all the talk of tolerance and acceptance, Anxiety and depression still seems to get a hard rap. Those with Anxiety and/or depression are told to “harden up” or “you just need to keep busy” or “Think positive”. These are nice statements and are most likely said with the best of intentions. Sometimes though its not as easy as that.

Sometimes you can try to “Think positively” but it can be a battle, even when you have a great support network; turning off negative thoughts can seem impossible. How anxiety or depression is portrayed can differ from person to person. How a person gets through it at a particular moment can differ from person to person, what works for one person may not work for another.

A person with anxiety can get anxious over what may seem a trifling issue; however the workings of the persons mind can be in overdrive. Sometimes it feels like anxious thought/feelings and common sense are battling each other and you really want common sense to win but that can be a hard outcome to achieve.

Those with Anxiety/Depression sometimes seemed to be deemed as weak, however that can be further from the truth that you know. When a person battles with Anxiety/depression daily they are actually quite tough with every day that they don’t give in to the Black Hole.

The attempt to always seem happy can be a battle as well, when you are smiling and laughing on the outside but are screaming on the inside; or when you’re spiraling downwards but you are afraid to let people know so you work even harder at putting on a happy face; some may do this through being comical.

A person who’s affected by anxiety/depression needs support and not judgment. They need to feel supported and that they are not a burden when they ask for help. Sometimes people dealing with anxiety/depression won’t ask for help either because they feel ashamed, or they don’t want to burden others. When you offer help let it be genuine and selfless and not about you earning “Brownie Points” so to speak.

 

Children are children – Let It Go

Children are children – Let It Go

My eldest boy had an anti-bullying awareness day at his school and was asked to wear either a pink OR loud shirt, I ended up buying him a bright orange shirt as there was little chance he would wear pink.

I have tried to explain to my boys that there are no “boy” or “girl” colours – they are just colours; however Jason has a very set idea on what is ok for him to wear, he won’t even wear the dark purple jeans he has. He said that the other kids would laugh if he wore them.

In my opinion we should let our kids wear what they want without parental judgment, especially towards boys. There seems to still be a bit of double standards going on when it comes to what our children wear, their favourite colour or how they play.

It seems to be more acceptable for girls to play with trucks, cars and so on yet not so acceptable if our boys want to play with dolls or pretend to be a disney princess. Its like when our girls play with car, trucks and the sort they are being toughened, however if our boys play with what is deemed “girls toys” then they are sometimes labelled “sissies”.

Children are just children and why should we put on them expectations that they don’t understand. In doing a bit of surfing on the net I found that pink didn’t become a “girls colour until after the 1920’s, before that it was more popular as a “boys colour”.

I remember as a child one of my favourite toys was a yellow dump truck whereas my little sister preferred to play with dolls – I didn’t mind playing dolls with her as to me it was more about just playing with my sister.

I can’t remember the last time Jason played with a doll, mind you he loves to carry his baby sister around. He’s very sensitive and very empathetic, he’s not a boy that likes to try new things straight off the bat and is cautious. My youngest son who’s 4 doesn’t mind what he wears and is a boy who will give anything a go, seems to have no fear and has no problem playing with dolls or dressing up.

What a child likes has more to do with their personality than their gender, as adults I believe that we should let them keep their innocence as long as possible we should try our best not to allow our own preferences to affect their choices. If a boy wants to dress like “Elsa” then let them and try not to analyse their reasoning – after all children are children they don’t reason like we do, they just want to have fun.

 

Happy and Active

Happy and Active

Alex had his before school check the other day, he was weighed and measured and then came the BMI chart (I think that’s what it is called). Anyway apparently he reached the “overweight” line for his height and weight. I honestly think that chart is absurd, my boy is very active hardly has Junk food and eats less than his almost 6 year old brother does and his brother looks quite skinny in my opinion.Jase and Alex

 

Their Dad was 6 ft by age 12 and Alex will most likely follow in his footsteps, Alex was 8 pd 15 oz when he was born and wasn’t on solids until he was around 8 months or so.

 

That chart could cause an anxious mother to be even more anxious in this day and age where social media is so prevalent and everyone can share their own views on things and when Google is an available source of “information” it is so easy to second guess yourself. I believe that if a child is happy and active –  at least some of the time. There should be no concern about a child’s weight unless their health is obviously in trouble due to being “overweight” or “underweight”

My 10 month old daughter is on the “9th percentile” yet she eats a quite a decent amount of food and has been commando crawling since she was 6 1/2 months old. She was 8 pd 5 oz when she was born so I was more concerned about her being so little as I was use to her brothers being at least in the “50th percentile” as her eldest brother was smaller than her at birth. The plunket nurse though was unconcerned as her body was in proportion.

All children are different and that chart doesn’t take into account a child’s activity or metabolism. Children may also seem stocky before a growth spurt and then just shoot up and be tall and skinny.

Alex weighs only a little bit less than his big brother but his brother is taller, a time may come when Alex is the taller one or is at least the same height as him.

I do think that chart is absurd but i’m sure it has helped some children, the thing to do about that chart is to take the information but to then look at the child themselves, and in many cases to trust that parental instinct. A chart alone cannot tell you if you’re child is doing well or not. There may be some cases where medical or nutritional advice is needed or whether further observations are necessary but in the end a parent knows their child the best. If a parent feels worried then to put their minds at ease it’s a positive thing to get a professionals opinion. I believe that it’s not a waste of time to take our child to see a doctor if we feel at all concerned even if it turns out nothing is wrong.

As long as a child is happy and as healthy as possible then parents you are doing a great job. After all you know whats best for your child not another parent.

 

 

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

It seems that in the News and on Social Media lately there is a lot of talk around bullying and how big a problem it is, especially with social media being a major bullying outlet. This has made me think even more about as parents what sort of example we are setting for our children.

I’m sure that no-one wants their child to be bullied or even more so to be a bully. Children are like monkeys and often its a case of children doing what we do not what we say – Monkey See, Monkey Do.

When we talk about the way other mum’s parent is it with respect even if we disagree or is it in judgement because they don’t parent how WE think they should. In an earlier blog  I wrote stopping these mum wars – this is a good idea not just because as mums we should be supporting each other but because we won’t to set a good example for how our children should treat others even when disagreements arise.

strong-people-dont-put-others-down-they-lift-them-up

If we put down another mum because they don’t cut their grapes for their kids like we do. Maybe it’s showing our kids that when someone does something different to us then that person is in the wrong.

I remember being told “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but names will never hurt you” this is complete and utter crock. I have found that bones do eventually heal however hurtful words can stick around for a long time and can have a major impact on a person’s self-esteem. I still remember having hurtful things said to me when I was younger and this is one of the reasons I struggle with self-esteem issues.

Childhood bullying actually has a long-lasting effect and according to some statistics is a reason why youth suicide is so high. Social media plays such a major role in the world today that bullying has taken on a new face and sometimes is unrecognisable.

I believe that as parents we should respect other parents and not insist that they shouldn’t do something because that’s not our way.

Mum shaming is bullying through and through. Unless a child is OBVIOUSLY being neglected or abused then we need to keep our opinions to ourselves, making suggestions is good as long as we don’t insist that our way is the ONLY way to do things.

Hope

More Prose than Poetry

More Prose than Poetry

This “novel” is me truly opening up and baring more of myself than I would normally do.

When I was younger my literary outlet was writing poetry I’ve found in that I was still able to hide from myself. I don’t know when it started but I would try to be who I thought people wanted me to be and in that was very rarely myself. I put on a mask so much that I think I forgot who I was.

I was bullied at school so became very introverted my my self esteem was very low, I became the type of person that wanted to please people and never disappoint – which I now find interesting as in life I have felt disappointed by people and sometimes it wasn’t the other persons fault.

I grew up in the church and for some reasons thought I had to be this little christian girl – but really I didn’t know what that meant, I could spout out many bible verses and I was the kid who because I felt lonely would say “I’m not alone, I’ve got Jesus”

I remember one night I prayed that I just wanted Mum to be happy – previously that year she had attempted to take her own life – the next morning my Grandparents came and told me that Mum had passed away; she had succeeded (if you can call it that) in taking her own life. I was 14 when this happened and I started going back to church again as I felt that’s what my mum would have wanted, I felt like I was the one responsible for my little sister and brother and to pick up where mum left off. In doing this I think I forgot more about me.

Being a teenager is hard enough, but when you’ve got to go through those years without anyone to really guide you. The next year when I was 15 I had to change schools, the year after I had little choice but to move out as my step-mum and I did not get along, so I moved in with my Granny who’s an awesome woman, but my life felt so topsy-turvy and I felt so alone even with the family around me.

By the time I got to my early 20’s I was starting to feel a bit normal and could manage; or so I thought, I still was not being true to myself which also meant that those around me didn’t really know me either. When I first met Rob he thought I was some “holier than though” girl, and in a way I was though it was more of a way for me to hide my low self-esteem from not just those around me but to myself as well.

Go down the track a few years and Rob and I are married and expecting our first child, however at 20 weeks we find that she is not likely to live. By 42 weeks I went through a traumatic birth  and Zoë  was stillborn, and I felt let down by God, by friends, by myself. I was angry at everyone including myself. My self-esteem took such a beating that it took a while for me to be truly happy again.

A year and a half later we had our first son and my self-esteem started to slowly come back. Then 20 months later our youngest son arrived and it took a long time for me to bond with him and I almost hated myself for it, but eventually things turned right. Now last year we had our gorgeous wee girl who I feel so protective of and would do almost anything to make her happy.

Even after all this joy I am still having to work on my self-esteem and that fact that I struggle with anxiety. Most days I can keep it in check but there have been times when things just feel too much and I almost break. One thing I think I was good at was pretending that everything was fine – because aren’t I meant to be happy, after all I have beautiful children, am married to a great guy and have some pretty good friends.

Even though I have all this, there are times when I feel alone – not all the time of course but in those bad moments it feels really bad.

Lately I’ve been focusing on positive events like the first birthday of my precious wee girl who when she smiles brings so much joy. One thing I’ve tried to do is to not let my boys get worried when I have my bad moments as I want them to be as carefree as possible. I want them to not grow up too fast.

 

Birth Stories

Birth Stories

c-section
I was reading a post the other day about birth stories and it got me thinking about the birth of my children – I’ve had 1 vaginal and 3 c-sections. My only vaginal birth was with my firstborn Zoë.

With Zoë I was induced at 42 weeks, I was admitted into hospital on Wednesday morning when the first lot of Prostaglandin gel  was administered. All day I was in pre-labor with not much happening so stayed over night and the next morning they administered more of the gel and also broke my waters – nothing much happened until around midday when the contractions started getting stronger, sometime that evening her head came out however she got stuck and it took them 22 minutes to turn her and get her out which was too long and she was stillborn. The thing with her was that the medical personnel involved in this pregnancy did not expect me to carry to term as she had cranial abnormalities so it was a miracle that I ended up with her being overdue. Yes, we may have still lost her in the end, I still got those 42 weeks of pregnancy with her which was longer than the professionals expected.

I was induced with my eldest boy Jason and things seemed to move a lot quicker with him. The gel seemed to work first try but even though I was induced in the morning but late evening he still hadn’t progressed much and I think he was starting to get stressed so he ended up being a emergency c-section as they didn’t want to push me considering my previous birth experience. The c-section probably saved him as he had the cord around his neck and saved me from more heartache.

I had a elective c-section with my youngest son Alex, as we thought it was the safer option considering I had already had a c-section, however with him it took a lot longer for me to bond with him than it did with Jason.

Rylee – my baby girl was an elective c-section as well, though I think I had it earlier than was originally planned as it was discovered at 32 weeks(?) that I had an irritable uterus which explained why I was having braxton hicks from around 13 weeks and why they were so strong.

If I remember rightly I hated having the oxygen during the c-section with Alex as it made me sleepy and it freaked me out – I guess it might have been because I wanted to be awake for it all and there might have been a part of me that was scared if I went to sleep I wouldn’t wake up. On the other hand that might have been with Jason

I guess you could say that these birth stories aren’t exactly typical but they are the stories of my children’s births.

I’ve heard it mentioned that those who have c-sections are “too posh to push” and I completely disagree. If someone was to ask my opinion on having an elective c-section I would say that unless its necessary not to go for it as the recovery time normally is a lot longer than a vaginal birth, however if for whatever reason it is necessary there is no shame in it as whether it be vaginal or c-section it is still a birth. Yes, there are risks either way but the most important thing is the well-being of BOTH mother and child.

“He’s a Mummy’s Boy” – not a bad thing

“He’s a Mummy’s Boy” – not a bad thing

Jason and Mummy

Jason has been called a “Mummy’s boy” by various people and because of the stigma attached to it its come across as a negative thing – but you know what – he comes across that way because he has a big heart so is sensitive when it comes to feelings. He’s not the type of boy who is adventurous. He’s very caring towards those younger than him especially his little cousin, his sister and even his friends sisters.

Here in New Zealand it seems that boys are only meant to be the rough and tumble adventurous type, he does like rough play but only to a certain degree. He also is a great reader and sometimes prefers to just sit and read. He likes to play sport but isn’t a fan of heights or is very cautious about trying new things.

Some people think that he’s “soft” because when he was little out of necessity we co-slept. Honestly though it was what he needed at the time. Jason isn’t 6 for a few more months but he can ride a two-wheeler by himself, he has had sleepovers at a friends place and was quite happy about it and didn’t want to come home.

I think what makes it harder on him is that his little brother is very adventurous and throws caution out the window; Alex never needed to co-sleep and just goes with the flow when it comes to change, he’s willing to try anything. However he doesn’t have the empathy that Jason has – and that’s okay as well. I’ve never had to worry too much about Alex but he does do my head in a bit as he is very determined and teaching him to apologise has been a huge task.

Jason loves cuddles and if I had to say what his love language was I would say its probably physical touch and quality time. Jason seems to prefer small but close friendship circles, he’s a friendly boy but when he was at kindy he pretty much just played with the same few boys whereas Alex’s friendships are more vast.

Some might say that Alex isn’t as emphatic as Jason because he’s younger but I disagree. The brothers just have different personalities and thats a good thing. If this world was made up of people that were exactly the same it would be pretty boring.

Just because someone may not fit the label we give them doesn’t give us a right to make assumptions. Yes Jason may be a “mummy’s boy” because of his empathy, his sensitivity and his closeness to me – he’s also a lot like his dad in his sense of humor and love of sports. Its fine if boys are sensitive it’ll mean they’ll grow up to be great Dads.

Jason and Rylee