With the storm raging and my little Bean needing me more than normal today I don’t have time for much. But I had to take the time to re-post this amazing piece of work by Anne at The Belle Jar. She echoes much of what I went through as well.

The Belle Jar

A friend of mine recently gave birth. She’d planned on have a natural, drug-free childbirth, but instead wound up having an emergency c-section. After 30 hours of labour, her son’s head still wouldn’t (or couldn’t) engage, and his heart rate started to plummet frighteningly low. After a few minutes of discussing their options with her midwife and the on-call OB, they decided that a caesarean was her best option.

Her son was born not long after that, a whopping 9 pounds 5 ounces, with a full head of dark hair. He was beautiful and healthy, but instead of feeling as if she’d made a decision that could potentially have saved his life, she felt as though it had been her fault that she’d had to have a c-section. She thought that if she’d just somehow tried harder, or prepared better, she could have had the birth she’d wanted.

I talked…

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My Brain Is Spealunkured

Cramma-jammed.  Uppadocked.  And any other nonsensical word I can think of.

I keep coming here to write a post – or finish the multitude of posts I already started – but stare at a blank screen with a blank stare.

Bean is teething (yes – at 4 mths) and is extra clingy and needy and adorably lovable.  I’m his everything right now without much of a break so it’s been taxing to say the least.  I’m exhausted and anything I try to write  comes out flammerblastered.  See?

In my head are the most wonderful colours though.  I wish you could see.  Perhaps the universe is saying I should put down the computer and the ipod and pick up the brush again.  

Perhaps I will.  When I’m not feeling so whistledoddeled.  

Goodnight.

Views From My Breast Part One – A bit of history

After the humorous nature of my last few posts I felt we should be a bit more serious this time and talk about something that’s been bugging me.  My boobs.

Oh.  Wait.  Reverse that.  Also, anyone not comfortable with the discussion of breasts and breastfeeding should probably go read something else.  I recommend this.  But for now I’m going to honour breast cancer awareness month and share with you the ups and downs of my bosom.

Over the years I have developed an extreme love/hate relationship with my breasts.  Here’s a little history.

When I was in grade seven I was pretty much on my own in school.  I was being bullied terribly by the girls in my class and taunted mercilessly by the boys.  My self confidence was shot.

One day while getting ready for gym class I noticed a group of grade eight girls changing a few benches away.  One of the girls had really big breasts.  I remember staring at them as they hung there swinging in the breeze and thinking “I wish I had breasts like that.”

They always tell you to be careful what you wish for.

By grade eight I had surpassed this girl.  I went from nothing to a C cup in less than a year.  Much to my chagrin this didn’t make me any more popular.  All it did was give them some larger targets to aim for.

By the time I started high school I was a fluctuating D/DD cup.  I was awkward and self-conscious about my weight so I took to wearing baggy shirts and jeans.    I didn’t mind my breasts so much then as I figured they helped even out my other curvy parts.  Also I’d been told/read in magazines/seen on tv that boys liked them big.

In my later school years I met a friend who was very stylish and liked to shop.  She taught me that a woman should always match right down to her bra and panties.  So I quickly abandoned the granny bras my mom had been stuffing me into from Sears and took a trip to La Senza where I quickly found out I was some kind of bra size freak.  At least by their standards.  I was a DD but a very small ribcage.  I didn’t fit in all those adorable little numbers with cherries and hearts and sparkles on them.  It was down to black or…white.  I was so jealous of my small-chested friend and her bag of cute underthings.

Over the years I considered breast reduction surgery.  As I got older and closer to having children though I knew I wanted to breastfeed so surgery was out of the question.

Ah, pregnancy.  I thought I was big before.

When I was pregnant with Joel I jumped from a DD to an H.  AN H.  Stands for HELLISHLY BIG.

Then I lost that pregnancy but my body did not return to “normal”.  I remained an H cup.

Pregnant with Bean my body decided I wasn’t top heavy enough.  So a K cup I became.  K.  Cause I could kill you with these things.

Being large chested always made things rather difficult.  Running.  Baseball.  Any kind of sport, really.  You know the scenes in anime where the guy and girl are playing some kind of sport or running or whatever and eventually they both trip at the guy ends up face first in her chest?  Or with his hand on her boob?  Yeah.  That can happen in real life.  Trust me.

T-shirts never fit right and trying to find a tank top that didn’t make me look like a porn star was a challenge.  Corsets were fun though.  Gave me a place to put my mead.

It wasn’t all bad though.  I filled out certain tops rather nicely and enjoyed having my own flotation devices while swimming.

Now that you know a bit of where I’m coming from with regards to my breasts next installment will outline the recent challenges of pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby wearing.

Until then, please enjoy this photo of Bean on the breast.

Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day

Today is October 15.  Babybean is 4 months old.  It was also pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.

If you don’t know I’ve suffered a stillbirth recently and have also miscarried when I was younger.  When I say that Babybean was hard won, I mean it.

The loss of Joel and the way it happened caused me severe anxiety and fear when I was pregnant with Babybean.  Every single day I waited for something to go wrong.  I was acutely aware of every pain or weird feeling in my body.  I stayed awake nights terrified that I was going to roll over on my stomach and pop my water.  I couldn’t give myself permission to enjoy the pregnancy and I hid it from others for as long as I could so I wouldn’t have to “inform” them again if I lost this one too.  I think the worst though was the guilt.  Because underneath it all I was convinced it had been my fault.

It wasn’t my fault.  The Dr that was there isn’t even sure what it was.  They think an undiagnosed UTI but aren’t sure.  It’s that way with most miscarriages or stillbirths.  Despite the mother’s best try sometimes it just happens.

Which is why “personhood” bills that go through congress or parliamentary motions like M-312 here in Canada are terrifying to me.  Some see just the abortion debate and though important I want to put that aside for another day.  What scares me is this:  if a fetus is given “personhood” status and has all the rights that would award, sometimes over and above the mother, what happens when there is a stillbirth or even a miscarriage?

Does this involve a criminal investigation into neglect or even…murder?

The last thing I would have wanted after losing Joel was answering questions about my conduct during my pregnancy.  I felt guilty enough for something beyond my control.

It would also open up the floor to banishing mothers from working during their last trimester – or possibly the full term of their pregnancy.

Scary.

I didn’t light a candle today or say any prayers.  I didn’t look at photos or talk with my husband about my feelings.  I did, however, hold Babybean a little closer and paid a bit more attention to him than usual.  The anxiety I feel now is tied to being a mother and it was a hard road to get here.  I’m going to appreciate what I’ve got and fight for my rights in the future.

Day Of The Girl – Fight For Education

October 11 was the first ever International Day Of the Girl.  The focus this year was on education for girls worldwide.

This very week a 14 year old girl from Pakistan fights for her life in the hospital after being shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding her right to an education.

61 million children do not attend school, just over 32 million of them are girls.  Five million of the world’s out of school children are in Pakistan.

We take for granted many things over here in North America.  Clean water we don’t have to walk miles to get.  Food that is plentiful and only a short drive away.  Medicine and vaccinations easily attainable.  Education.  Freedom.

Sure, we have a ways to go.  Things aren’t perfect.  Especially when it comes to women’s rights.

But if a 14 year old girl wants to go to school she can.  In fact in most places it’s the law that she does.  Because somewhere along the line we figured out that an educated girl becomes an educated woman and that’s good for everyone.

The Pakistani Government has pledged to find the men behind the shooting of Malala.  That’s not enough.  The government needs to stand strong and make sure that what Malala was fighting for comes to realization – the ability and opportunity for all girls to get an education.  Telling the Taliban to GTFO with some BFGs would be a good idea as well so that the schools will be safe and the students can study without fear of attack.  In fact let’s keep religion of any kind out of all schools and governments worldwide.

The graphic above illustrates the many obstacles that girls have to getting an education.  Two of the largest obstacles are poverty and distance.  However an estimated 10 million girls are not at school because they have become child brides, some as young as 6 years old.  15 million boys and girls under age 15 do not attend school because they are child laborers – many with little to no pay.  Child brides, child labor and child soldiers are issues tied closely with this fight for a girl’s right to education.

Malala has become a symbol to girls in Pakistan and all over the world that they CAN change the world.  They can demand their rights and they know now that the greatest thing the Taliban and other religious extremists fear is a woman with knowledge.  I hope that she recovers and can see the impact she has made.  The world is watching.

Here in North America we need to keep up the fight for our daughters and ourselves.  Our fight is far from over – equal pay, women’s reproductive health, sexism, rape culture and so much more demand our attention.  While Malala fights for an education we will fight for a better tomorrow for our daughters and together we can change the world.  Not just because I am a girl, but because I am a human being.  And women’s rights are human rights.

For more information visit the following links:

Because I Am A Girl Canada

Girls Not Brides

All pictures used  with credit to Because I Am A Girl Facebook Archives

Cyber Bullying

I’m all cuddled up in a warm, soft bed with a warm, soft baby trying desperately to take a much needed nap.  On my computer sit two blog posts that I wanted to finish and post tonight – one about the International Day of the Girl yesterday.  Neither of those things are happening because I watched a video.

This video by Amanda Todd who was cyber bullied and committed suicide this week.  You have to watch it on the news story as You Tube took the original down.

This hit so close to home.  Having been bullied and taken advantage of from grade 7 onwards I know.  I know the fear.  The anxiety.  The guilt.    I understand the desire to just make it all go away.

I can’t believe that people are STILL trying to find fault with her actions.  She may have made a mistake.  That’s what teenagers do.  They make mistakes so that they can learn and become adults someday.  At least we hope they do.

Some are calling what she did a “cry for attention”.  Are you fucking kidding me?  Of COURSE it was a cry for attention.  It was a silent SCREAM for help.  When you are terrified of losing the love and respect of the only people still around you your actions become symbolic of your feelings.  She needed people to pay more attention.  She drank bleach for goodness’ sake.

I don’t blame her.  I can’t.  For many reasons but most of all because she could have been me.  Had the faceless internet been available to those who tormented me – would my life have been any different?  Would I still be here to type these words?  The internet has given rise to a type of bullying that the laws and schools and even parents are struggling to catch up to.

The school isn’t to blame.  I have seen many comments asking why the school didn’t step in.  Often the hands of the teachers are tied, if they even know there is a problem to begin with.  They ignore bullying because they lack the power to do anything about it.  Often the parents of the bullies cause a stink.

The parents – who’s to really say?  My parents only found out what was going on in one school because they came home to find me sobbing on the floor one day.  When they moved me into a new school which ended up being worse I found a way to hide it from them – I felt guilty for making them worry.  In my mind it was my fault and I didn’t want the last people who loved me to abandon me.

I hope they find that pervert who coerced a grade 7 girl to flash him, took a picture, stalked her, and spread the picture to all of her family and friends.  Twice.  I hope they lock him up and throw away the key.

From what I understand the group who beat her and left her in a ditch threw a party after her death to celebrate.  People who made fun of her are writing on her memorial wall saying they loved her and will miss her.  What bullshit!

One of the people who tormented me in grade 7 and 8 saw me in a mall when I was just over 20.  She came up and tried to chat me up as if nothing had ever happened.  I remember looking at her and all those fears and anxieties came rushing back.  I couldn’t believe she had forgotten.  I asked why she thought I would want to speak with her after they way I had been treated.  “We were just kids, right?” was her response.  Just kids.  These girls and boys knew EXACTLY what they were doing.  Amanda moved from the school where they were into a new school and they TRACKED HER DOWN and bullied her there.  The internet has given bullies the ability to find victims and continue the attacks long after the victims have physically gone.  How much more would I have endured if my bullies could have found me so easily?

Anyone saying that bullying has always been around and this is the same is on crack.  Adding cyber into the mix makes things easier for bullies and worse for the bullied.  There is no escape.

But what’s to be done about it?

Amanda’s death has triggered a heated dialogue across the country about bullying in schools, cyber-bullying and mental health.  It’s shone a light on the lack of protection kids have against cyber attacks.  It’s shown us that children are slipping through the cracks – some with deadly results.  It’s highlighted a need for Canada to get serious on mental health issues and make sure that the support is there for those who need it.

It’s made me cry.  For Amanda and her life spent in anxiety and fear.  For my lost childhood.  For all those suffering in silence right now.  For the future that my son might have.

Something needs to change.  What we have isn’t working.  New laws are being stopped in parliament because anti-bullying means against homophobia too (I’m looking at you Conservatives).

I, for one, will raise my children with empathy and strength.  The ability to stand up for themselves but also for others.  The knowledge that they can ALWAYS come to me and I will move heaven and earth to help them.

I hope you have finally found peace, Amanda, and someone to eat lunch with.

Oh The Thoughts I Do Think

Anne over at The Belle Jar did a post  about writing.  She starts it off with “Writing here is sometimes like standing in the middle of a crowded auditorium, peeling off layer after layer of clothing, asking, Do you like me yet? How about now? Or now?”.

I often have trouble writing in this blog.  Or any blog.  I’ve had many in the past.  Though I start them with the aim to be a good blogger.  To write infinitely interesting things full of wit and insight.  Instead they usually just devolve into me complaining about my life.  Or in this blog’s case forcing Arthur’s adorableness on everyone.

I have opinions, very strong ones in fact.  I routinely have arguments with myself working out this way or that way to see my opinion   Sometimes I even write blog posts in my head.  Today whilst driving I was writing a post in my head about how I hate religion and what it has done to the world.  Or there’s the post about my fear of Christians stored away.  Or abortion.  Or feminism.  I  am afraid to write about these topics.  Everything I write is safe.  Everything I’ve ever drawn or painted or come up with has been safe.  I don’t stir the pot.  In fact I avoid the pot and spoon all together.

I haven’t been able to pinpoint my problem.  Why I can’t seem to “let it all out” either here or in my life.  I suppose it’s a mixture of things.  My fear of confrontation.  My need to be diplomatic and “nice” all the damn time.  Being terrified people won’t like me.  Even my husband gets an edited version of what I really want to say.

I’m tired of hiding.  The woman in me is screaming to be let out.  She’s full of raw emotion, anger, willpower.  She wants to do good, to change the world for the better if only by her words and her art.  She wants to raise her son and future children to be confident and defend their rights and freedoms.  She wants to be an example to them.

However, I need to start small.  To educate myself on the various topics I would like to discuss.  So that if I do encounter any type of discussion I can defend my position with both knowledge and emotion.  This will take time.

In the meantime I will continue to wow you all with Bean and his amusing antics and practice writing by sharing stories of my life (old and new) with all of you.

Any requests?

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me thus far and I apologize for the post the other day.  It was a cry for help (which was answered, thanks 26 and Belle) but also a stellar example of what happens to my brain without taking my meds.  It goes to dark places.