Feeling Guilty

My current body image sucks. After coming through from the other side of PTSD and PND (even though I’m not better yet, I just cope better with the flashbacks), I look at myself much more critically than I did in months gone by.

I’ve never been a small person. By small, I mean size 8. I was always a 10-12 without trying. Since having my thyroid go underactive and having the baby, I’ve been a size 14-16 and well, I hate it.

When sickest with my PTSD, I couldn’t cook. So healthy meal options didn’t happen. Now I’m paying for that.

Since coming home from Canberra , I’ve been eating really well and exercising. Today though, I blew it. I ate a quarter pounder burger from McDonalds. I was standing there in McDonalds, consciously making the decision to buy and eat all those disgusting calories. Knowing that in all likelihood, I’d get to my destination today and not be able to exercise. I was right. It was 35 degrees and a storm was blowing in. I couldn’t take my daughter out in that heat. She’d get sunburned.

Talking to my husband tonight, he was saying to me that he doesn’t want me to feel guilty about eating food. It’s not that I’m hating myself for being ‘fat’, but more hating the conscious decision to put that processed and all nutrient sucked out of it, food into my body.

I’m turning 30 in two and a bit months. If I don’t get serious now, I’ll be turning 40 and being diagnosed with diabetes. Or turning 50 and having a heart attack from high cholesterol.

So I bought a treadmill. I want to use it every day. No excuses not to walk or run. I will be able to use it any time.

Also, talked about getting another psychologist today too. I read on twitter the other week a man has had PTSD for 58 years. I can’t have it for 58 years. I won’t be able to live with it for that long.

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Australia is Not as Enlightened as We Think

So many reasons to keep on fighting…

The rights of a mother to feed their child, in any way, without fear or discrimination.

The rights of any person, straight or gay to love and have that love recognised legally, without fear or discrimination.

The rights of any person to worship or believe in any religion or belief without fear or discrimination.

The rights of a woman to wear what she likes without fear or discrimination.

We can’t stop. We mustn’t stop. We think our society is enlightened. It’s not.

As long as the media keeps reporting on the clothes our PM is wearing, rather than her policies, we’re not enlightened.

As long as our nations’ leaders are saying that gay & lesbian people are not equal, we’re not enlightened.

As long as we teach our girls to not get raped or molested, instead of teaching out boys not to rape or molest, we’re not enlightened.

As long as society perpetuates discrimination against breastfeeding mothers, we’re not enlightened.

As long as it’s possible for a person to be discriminated based on the colour of their skin, we’re not enlightened.

As long as people spread viral emails about Asylum Seekers, perpetuating myths and lies, we’re not enlightened.

We still have a long way to go in Australia. A very long way to go. Be the change our nation needs. Don’t think about it or wait for someone else to do it.

Change starts with us, the people.

The Tiresome Breastfeeding Debate Continues

It’s been a good few days since I last blogged. I’ve just been quite busy working and mothering.

However, I’m incensed today. Besides the fact that I’m generally a bit angry as a normal state, I’m pretty annoyed that in 2013, where we’re supposed to be enlightened in Australia, breastfeeding is still a topic of debate.

I absolutely believe that the breastfeeding naysayers tie into the anti-feminism debate. Breastfeeding is a woman only activity. Sorry dads, but biologically you can’t do it. I wonder if men could do it, would it be such a polarising topic. Would there be such opposition to a man feeding his baby in public?

This week in Australia, a woman who was breastfeeding her baby felt humiliated and compelled to leave a public swimming pool because she refused to feed her baby away from the public eye. That’s right. A staff member of the pool told a nursing mother that she couldn’t breastfeed her child in public view. In Australia. Where it’s against the law to discriminate against breastfeeding mothers.

So today the debate rages. A high profile breakfast TV presenter (you know the type, the commercial radio breakfast show DJ of the TV world) has said that the mother should feed discreetly to prevent making other people feel uncomfortable.

Video from Channel 7 showing David Koch’s comments

Huh?

Other people matter when we breastfeed our babies?

I’m confused.

I can honestly say that during the 15 months I breastfed my daughter, I did not give a second thought to anybody except my daughter when feeding her. I’ve fed her in restaurants, at the park, in the tea room at work, at the shopping centre (you get my drift). I only ever once had a woman look at me like I was doing the wrong thing. Nobody ever said anything to me. One time I was feeding Missy as a little one on a bench outside of a shop, an elderly woman who could barely speak English, congratulated me on doing so well.

In saying this, I did not ever sit there with my breast out. I also often used feeding rooms, but was very picky where. Some smelled like a broken sewer. Some did not have chairs in them. Some were so dirty, I felt it was a health hazard for my baby and I to sit in them. In those instances, I’d sit in my car if I couldn’t find anywhere for us to sit where I felt comfortable. It wasn’t about modesty for ‘flashing my breasts’, it was about going somewhere quiet so my daughter wasn’t distracted and would feed. When I did feed my child in ‘public view’, I was not using my daughter as a political statement. I was just trying to feed her.. Like any mother does, regardless of whether that child is breast or bottle fed.

First and foremost, in those 15 months I was breastfeeding, my breasts were my babies food source, not a sexual play thing. I also did not ever cover her head while she fed. Have you ever eaten a sandwich with a blanket over your head? It’s darn near impossible.

It’s time to get over the ‘breast feeding debate’. It’s time to stop worrying about how babies are fed. Breast or bottle, it’s up to the parents, nobody else. If a mother needs to feed her child, then she should be able to, wherever she is, however she chooses, without having to worry about offending or upsetting anyone.

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Blindsided by The Beast

Sometimes a trigger blindsides me. I can’t see it coming and all I can do afterward, is try not to relive the flashback over and over. Which sometimes I do for days, like a record stuck on the needle.

I’m not going to deny that I haven’t been the easiest person to live with in the last eighteen months. I’ve lost friends (and solidified some amazing friendships) and I’ve made some serious changes to who I am as a woman, wife and mother.

Just today, I found myself scooping up my Missy and smothering her little face in kisses. She was giggling and saying “Mama” and cooing and garbling indeterminable sounds, which mimicked me saying “I love you”.

Six weeks ago, I couldn’t have done this. Six weeks ago I loved her, but was keeping her at arms length.

I’m not sure what happened with the turnaround. I’m still seeing in vivid colour, feeling and sound, the events of ‘that day’.

I saw my scar in the shower two days ago and was back in the theatre being cut open. Me saying to my doctor as he shaved my pubic hair back “I can feel that”. Him rubbing my belly with iodine and me saying “I can feel that”.

How can I avoid a trigger that is on my body? I’ve deleted the people from my online life who were in my mothers group. I’ve left my job at the hospital where she was born. I avoid driving past the hospital at all costs and if I do, I shield my face so I can’t see the building. I’ve also deleted most of my former colleagues from Facebook as I couldn’t cope with seeing updates from work. I have actually done what Sarah suggested and replied to an inquisitor, with my hand up saying “I do not want to talk about it”. It felt so good and empowering.

This year, I decided to start with a clean slate and change my mindset and lifestyle. It doesn’t sound like much and it’s not a New Years resolution that will be all but forgotten by February, but tonight I did a 3.2km walk in my neighborhood. All 3,982 steps, according to my iPod pedometer. It felt good to strap my sneakers on and put my iPod on and just go for a walk. No pram, no baby, no mobile phone. Just me and my music and my thoughts. I read online the other week about waking helping to stop depression. You know what? It was so so good to just get out into the fresh air and see the birds flying, the sun setting and the dark clouds of nighttime rolling in. I’m actually looking forward to next walk. I also got my husband to hook up the Wii so I can get back into using the Wii Fit programme.

I may not be able to erase the triggers or the memories, but I may be able to learn to live with them, by seeking pleasure in other activities.

I know I’m pushing the memories to the back of my mind. I know I’m shutting the metaphorical windows without properly closing them. I know I’ll breakdown again in the future. That’s certain. It may not be this month, it may not be this year. However I know it will happen. I’m hoping that I know the signs and I have the mechanisms to cope next time.

Interestingly, today has been a day of talking about the past. The early days of motherhood when I was computing the enormity of what had happened to me, while navigating my way around my newborn. Spending so much time online, a great deal of my socialising is with the people inside my computer (well, in my case, my iPhone). I’m still not sure how people missed the red flags. I’m not blaming anyone, not at all, I just wonder how me saying what I was at the time, was not a red flag for anyone.

Talking about the past has its good and bad points. Good to reminisce about the good times. The first time I saw my Miss, her wide open eyes. Her first breastfeed. The first time she said “mama”. Her first steps. When she ran to me from across the room and leapt into my arms for a cuddle. Those times are great.

Then there are the bad times. Like the first time I told her that I hated her and that I regretted her because of what her birth did to me.

I’m not proud of myself for telling her that more than once. But I did it. I need to own that. I need now to remember that things will never be that bad ever again, even when I do breakdown again, because she deserves better. I can’t let her hear those words ever again, even though she won’t remember me saying them. She can’t help how she got here. All she wants is love. That’s what gets me through. One day when she’s older, if this blog is still about, I might let her read it. I think it’s important that she knows her story and my story.

I think I’ve waffled on enough for today.

xx

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Have a wonderful week xx

It’s getting hot in herrrrrre

If you’re on the Twitters or Facebook then I can guarantee that today you’ve seen statuses that contain the words ‘hot’, ‘OMG’ and ‘aircon’. Am I right?

Yep, it’s January in Australia and we’re quite used to weather extremes here. In the winter time, there are some nights that drop down to minus 3 degrees. It doesn’t snow where I live (it does in the alps), but some mornings the ice crunches under your feet as you walk. Where I live, in western Sydney, the temperature today reached 42 degrees Celsius (which for our American friends, is 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Which is not even as hot as the temperatures out in central Australia through the desert.

Today our Bureau of Meteorology had to add an extra colour to their chart because the temperatures predicted have exceeded past records set.

Not something to be proud of, I assure you. Side note, where are all the climate change deniers today?

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54 degrees Celsius! Who knew?

Not quite sure where this blog post is going, my brain is well and truly overheating. It’s currently 32 degrees Celsius in my bedroom despite air conditioning and an oscillating fan. Combine that with my diet (new years resolution) and extreme sugar withdrawal, I’m a mess.

I guess I’ll make it a community service announcement, I am a nurse after all.

If you’re in a fire zone, have your plan ready. Pack a bag with supplies. Don’t forget your drinking water and mobile phone charger! If you’re advised to evacuate, do it. Yep it’s pretty crap losing your house, but it’s worse to die.

Keep your fluids up. Kids and elderly people are particularly affected by the heat, so offer lots of water, bottles or breastmilk.

Wear sunscreen and protective clothing.

Don’t drink too much alcohol (heat and beer do not go so well together).

Leave a container of water outside for the birds. Those poor darlings will dehydrate and die in this extreme heat. Keep your pets well hydrated too.

Keep your windows and curtains closed. Shutters too if you have them. Keeping the lights off too will help keep your house cool and also relieve some of the demand on electricity.

Also if you’re in a fire zone and have asthma, make sure you have enough ventolin on you.

If you have an iPhone or Android and are in New South Wales, download the Fires Near Me app. It’s brilliant.

Take care xx

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Splish splash

Home

It’s been a bit of a funny day, but we’re home now ( a day earlier than we had planned) and some normality has returned. Missy is in bed and husband and I are doing the Gen Y social media thing. I’m here on my Macbook Pro, iPhone 4S and iPad 2, watching Foxtel. While he’s sitting there on his iPhone 4 watching something or facebooking, or something.

It’s comfortable and it’s good.

Actually today I drove the furthest I’ve ever driven before. I drove from Canberra to my parents house in south western Sydney. I was four hours sitting in the car (we had drive through McDonalds, so I didn’t actually get out of the seat even though I had a break) and I was numb. I don’t know how the long haul drivers do it. I don’t know how my husband did it last year when we drove from Sydney to Melbourne and back via Bendigo and Ballarat in one weekend (we were picking up a car, not just going for a drive south for something to do).

Also, I’ve finally found a theme that I like for the blog. I’ve always liked rainbow colours. Also while I’m not deflecting my now 18 month old daughter off my keyboard, I’ve added a facebook widget for my page. I love using my computer it’s just so hard now that she thinks she can type everything along with me.

Can you believe she’s 18 months old? Those of you who followed #ClairzillaBumpWatch on Twitter back in the old days of my old account, may very well be feeling just like me when I say “Where did that time go?” I was pregnant with her forever.

Also today since Christmas and New Year and all the holiday festivities are officially over, I’m able to start my new lifestyle. It’s much too difficult to start dieting etc over Christmas and holiday periods. I did however, cut down on my portion sizes already and also cut right back on the fizzy drinks. So many empty calories in them. I had chicken salad for dinner and it was good. I even bought cereal for breakfast. I know, right? I’m actually looking forward to doing something about my appearance. I feel so disgusting. The self-loathing isn’t helping my mental state at all.

Anyway, it’s just about midnight here and I’m sure my daughter will wake at 3am, which is her latest trick. Which is just awesome considering she had only been sleeping through the night for about a month anyway.

I’m rambling, will post again soon,

xx Clair

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She thinks she knows everything about computers

Canberra

For the last few months, we’ve had this getaway planned. My husband and his friend are going to Summernats on Friday and Saturday, so we decided to make a trip out of it and see some of my relatives. I’m waiting on my friend and her husband to arrive in the next day or two, so we can hang out with our kids, while the boys go to Summernats.

This trip could not have come at a better time. I’ve been off work for nearly two weeks over the Christmas and New Years holidays and frankly, have been losing my mind .

So today we packed the car and set off. The weather is amazing. Country New South Wales has put on a beautiful day. I always feel so at home coming to Canberra. I was born and bred in south western Sydney, but my family is from a small country town outside of Goulburn calls Taralga. With relatives in Canberra too, we spent a lot of holidays and long weekends down here when growing up.

So as we’ve just passed the state line into the ACT, I’ll love you and leave you until next time

xx

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Hello from Canberra, ACT!