Since I am sick and do not have a post waiting in the wings I have scoured all of the interwebs (that’s a lie, Le Clown found this first) to bring you an amazing post of such magnificence your socks will blow off your feet in awe. Seriously though I did think this was a great post about fat shaming. Hopefully will be back in the swing of things tomorrow. Until then…enjoy! 🙂

This Blog Is Not Tested On Animals

Hooray!

Europe has banned the sale of cosmetics tested on animals (or that contain ingredients that were tested on animals).  This makes the European Union the first zone in the world to have and enforce such a ban.

While I may not like it I understand that there is a need for animal testing in medicine.  However cosmetic animal testing does not need to happen.  There are other methods.  And really, life-saving surgery and drugs are necessary, mascara is not.

It’s hard to shop cruelty free.  Many companies that say their products are not tested on animals still test the ingredients.  Or they don’t test in North America but are more than happy to test on animals when selling in other countries.  They don’t practice what they preach and that irks me.

I’d like to slowly replace all our household cosmetic and cleaning products with cruelty-free alternatives.  If they are good-for-the-Earth as well I’m sold.  I want Arthur to know that I practice what I preach.  That being kind extends to all living things, not just other humans.

So far I’ve replaced my shampoo, conditioner, face wash and hand lotion.  All from Lush Cosmetics who are not only against animal-testing they actively fight against it.  They were a big part in the petition that helped Europe sign off on the ban.  They are hosting an online petition for North America to do the same.

I love Lush’s products.  They are also Earth-friendly and handmade by actual people.  I like that I’m supporting a company that supports my community.  I encourage you to give them a try and if you are unsure of where to start stop in and talk to a sales associate.  They are really nice and uber-excited about the product they are selling.  I would be too if I worked there!

For make-up (other than Lush) I enjoy Pure Fusion Cosmetics.  She’s Canadian and hand makes these fantastic mineral eye shadows.

One product at a time can really make a difference.  To find more companies that are cruelty-free visit The Leaping Bunny – there’s even a booklet you can order to carry with you so you can check while shopping!

Having a child has made me more aware of the footprint I am leaving on this world and of the stories behind the consumer choices that I make.  If I continue to make small changes it doesn’t seem so overwhelming and gives me a sense of accomplishment.  One step at a time.

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Realization At The Park

I realized something today while taking Arthur out to the park.

Seeing as it was the nicest weather we’ve had yet the park was full of happy kids and parents.  I disentangled Arthur from the Ergo and set him on the ground.  Immediately I had a mini conversation with a mother about how cute my son’s jacket is.  Another young mom came over to coo over Arthur and her little girl gave him a pat on the head.

I took Arthur over to the swings and tried to get him in – a kind mom came over and helped me fit his legs through the hole.  She made a joke about “wait till he’s older and his boots get stuck” and it hit me.

I’m one of THEM.  A mom.  An ADULT.

I think my inside teenager laughed and screamed at the same time.

I mean, I know I’m a mother.  I routinely touch the scar across my belly to remind myself of the  beginning to this tale.  My most stimulating conversation recently involved the different consistencies of baby poop and I know all the words to “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by heart.

But I didn’t realize until today that I’m a mom.

That instead of being an awkward teenager enjoying the cuteness of any given child, I understand the amount of time and effort the parents put into letting this young life shine.

Instead of being a know it all twenty something judging the mom with the screaming kids in the mall, I’m sending her looks of understanding and empathy.

Instead of sitting on the park bleachers a jaded thirty year old having a cigarette and watching the mothers in the park, I’m pushing my own kid in the swing and haven’t smoked since before he was born.

I’m the mother in the park with her child.  I’m the lady on the bus with a stroller.  I’m the woman taking up the special parking for mothers with young children.  I’ve got a family and life has changed.

Swings are AWESOME

Swings are AWESOME

I’m navigating some new social waters by chatting with other mothers.  I don’t know what topics are taboo, what compliments to their children will be taken the wrong way, how much of my nerdy inner self can I reveal before they run away in horror.  I’m in unfamiliar territory here.  Thank goodness there are some other mothers out there willing to throw me a  life jacket.

Quitting the Diet Pepsi

I know this should be a post about women’s day but I am tired, sore and non-caffeinated.

Fred and I are giving up the Diet Pepsi.  It’s going to be a long few days.  Giving this drink up has been comparable to giving up smoking – the withdrawal, the moodiness, the lack of coherent brain function.

Also why I have not gotten to the comments section.  So sorry everyone!

Tomorrow should be better.  Goodnight!

Yeah, you tell them WW!

Yeah, you tell them WW!

The List’s The Thing – 10 Things About Being A Mom

Lists.  They’re so hot right now.  Everyone’s doing it.

Anne at Belle Jar Blog did a list called “15 Assumptions That Might Be Useful To Make”

Make Me A Sammich posted (the very important) “10 Things Rape Is Not”

This one:  The Ten Commandments of Blog Comments I found super-useful (especially now with so many new readers and comments – HEY ALL WHAT UP?

And then there’s “10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Sloths” (you’re welcome!)

So in the spirit of international post-a-list day (i’m just kidding, stop panicking and trying to find the bullet points on your computer) here’s my list.

THE TOP TEN THINGS I LOVE ABOUT BEING A MOM

1)   Having a baby means you can make a damn fool of yourself in public and it’s ok.  Such as singing “Some Nights” at the top of your lungs in the Wal-Mart parking lot or making weird babble-y noises while walking through the mall.

2)   Finally someone likes and applauds my singing.  And asks for more.

3)   I get to revisit all the awesome things I LOVED as a child and see them again through the eyes of my child.  I showed him the Real Ghostbusters cartoon from the 80’s today and he crapped his pants.  Though that might have been a coincidence.

4)   I don’t need alcohol to laugh hysterically while rolling around on the floor anymore.  Just a baby giving me raspberries on my tummy or wrestling-style slamming his tummy into mine.

5)   I can avoid conversations with pushy salespeople at mall kiosks (Dead sea lotion guys I’m looking at you) by pretending my baby is stinky/hungry/dangerous.

6)   There’s nothing like a mobile baby in the house to motivate dwellers to clean up after themselves.

7)   People don’t think I’m talking to myself anymore.

8)   Babies bring family and friends closer.  Also the elderly.  Whether you want them to or not.

9)   My breasts finally have a purpose above annoying me/attracting attention.  They are the perfect shelf for snacks baby hasn’t finished yet.

10)  The fact that finally someone in this house is adorably and fashionably dressed.

This post was sponsored by the wonderful day out with Arthur I had today where we traversed the wilds of Brampton, made new friends and avoided old enemies.

I constantly make lists and itineraries and then can’t stick to any of them – Freema Agyeman

Confession Of A Medicated Woman

I have a confession to make.  

I have asthma coupled with severe allergies.  I’ve battled this disease since I was a child with many doctors weighing in on how to best control the symptoms.  It was decided that early on I would have to be medicated in order to keep breathing.

There were so many different kinds of medications I’ve lost count.  Some worked ok.  Some made the symptoms worse.  And some…some I had horrible side effects with.  Like vomiting and nausea.  I was told by my Dr to just keep using them – the side effects would go away eventually.  Finally we settled on a combination that works for my specific type of asthma.  Ventolin inhalers as needed with Advair to back it up.

Sometimes I’m angry.  Angry that I can’t live without this medicine.  Angry that I can’t be just a NORMAL person who breathes without difficulty.  Who can play sports and cuddle with kittens without fear of hospitilization.

Mostly though I’m ashamed.  I’m afraid to talk about my health issues in public for fear of judgement.  So many times I see posts from people with similar problems asking for help and there is a resounding cry that they can just “work through it” and that medication isn’t really needed.  When I was in grade six I had a gym teacher who believed I could just “walk off” my asthma after gym class.  It took a severe attack for my parents to remove me from that class – an attack that I nearly died from.

According to statistics Canada 8.5 % of the population aged 12 and over have been diagnosed with asthma.  More common during childhood, asthma affects more than 13% of Canadian children.

So I’m not alone.  There are many others like me.  So why does society view having asthma as something I can just “get over”?  Why am I constantly asked how long I’m going to have to be medicated and whether or not I really need the inhalers?  Some even feel the drug companies are to blame and I’m not really sick.  They just want to have me on inhalers so I’m easier to control by the corporations/governments.

I see people telling pregnant or breastfeeding women to “go off their inhalers” due to misinformation about the danger to the baby – despite the fact the mother may be a danger to herself without them.

No wonder I, and many others, are ashamed of their asthma.  Why we hide it.

If I have an attack in public I just tell people that I’ve got a slight cold.  I turn away from people if I have to take my inhaler so they won’t know I’m sick.  I don’t talk about it much online so that I won’t incure the judgement of the internet.

Sometimes I’m afraid to get help for my asthma thinking I’ll be judged.  That my friends and family won’t understand or think I’m a burden and abandon me.  That the doctors won’t think I’m sick enough to warrant medical attention.  It can be so difficult to admit I need help no matter how hard it is for me to breathe.

I live in a society where there is a stigma against asthmatics – especially those who are on inhalers.  Where we are judged from all sides and shamed into silence.  Where we suffer and often times don’t find the help and support we need in time.

………….Wait a minute.  Asthma is a serious illness.  I shouldn’t be ashamed and this is just ridiculous.  Is it though?  Let’s re-write this post with what it’s actually about.

I have a confession to make.

I have an anxiety disorder coupled with depression.  I’ve battled this disease since I was a teenager with many doctors weighing in on how to best control the symptoms.  It was decided that I would have to be medicated in order to keep functioning.

There were so many different kinds of medications I’ve lost count.  Some worked ok.  Some made the symptoms worse.  And some…some I had horrible side effects with.  Like vomiting and nausea.  I was told by my Dr to just keep using them – the side effects would go away eventually.  Finally we settled on a combination that works for my specific type of anxiety.  Ciprolex with the occasional prescription of Prozac if my depression got too bad.

Sometimes I’m angry.  Angry that I can’t function without these pills.  Angry that I can’t be just a NORMAL person who controls their emotions without difficulty.  Who can deal with stress and major life events without fear of hospitalization.

Mostly though I’m ashamed.  I’m afraid to talk about my mental health issues in public for fear of judgement.  So many times I see posts from people with similar problems asking for help and there is a resounding cry that they can just “work through it” and that medication isn’t really needed.  When I was in my twenties I believed it and almost did something irreversible.  I could have died.

According to the World Health Organization depression effects 350 million people worldwide. CAMH says anxiety disorders effect one in ten people.

So I’m not alone.  There are many others like me.  So why does society view having depression and anxiety as something I can just “get over”?  Why am I constantly asked how long I’m going to have to be medicated and whether or not I really need the pills?  Some even feel the drug companies are to blame and I’m not really sick.  They just want to have me on the pills so I’m easier to control by the corporations/governments.

I see people telling pregnant or breastfeeding women to “go off their meds” due to misinformation about the danger to the baby – despite the fact the mother may be a danger to herself (or others) without them.  They quote sources that aren’t even close to being scientific.

No wonder I, and many others, are ashamed of their mental health issues.  Why we hide them.

If I have an attack in public I just tell people that I’m having an asthma attack or allergies.  I turn away from people if I have to cry or hyper ventilate so they won’t know I’m sick.  I don’t talk about it much online so that I won’t incur the judgement of the internet.

Sometimes I’m afraid to get help for my anxiety or depression thinking I’ll be judged.  That my friends and family won’t understand or think I’m a burden and abandon me.  That the doctors won’t think I’m sick enough to warrant seeing me.  It can be so difficult to admit I need help no matter how hard it is for me to function.

I live in a society where there is a stigma against mental health – especially those who are on pills.  Where we are judged from all sides and shamed into silence.  Where we suffer and often times don’t find the help and support we need in time.

……

Did your feelings change when you read the re-write?  Many people’s do.  The point is summed up in one simple sentence.

Everyone, PLEASE, stop shaming those on medication for their mental health issues.

If you wouldn’t tell an asthmatic to stop taking their inhalers, if  you wouldn’t tell a diabetic to stop their insulin, DON’T tell someone with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue to stop their medication.

What people need is support and understanding.  Patience and empathy.  Help them know that they are not being judged and that they are still worthy of your time and love.

With better support at home and in their community things do get better.  I’m living proof.

Someday I’ll talk more about my mental health journey.  The self-medication, the hospitalization, the attempts at…well, we’ll get there.  I know that without that one little pill I take every night each day would be substantially harder.  I wouldn’t find joy in my precious baby and would spend my time agonizing over “what ifs” instead of focusing on “what is”.  That one pill helps me be better and manage my illness and really, is that such a bad thing?

inhalerpills